Functional response of polymer-nanoparticle nanocomposites depend strongly on physical organization and interactions between constituting components. In this work, we study thermally induced embedding of silver nanocrystals (nanocubes, AgNC) into different polymer films to probe the interfacial nanoparticle diffusion dynamics and to determine temperature of embedding (Te) into the polymer substrates. The spatial sensitivity of the AgNCs hybrid plasmonic modes allowed the detection of a thin layer on top of the polymer film with increased polymer segmental motion and Te lower than the glass transition temperature Tg of the bulk polymer. Utilizing supported AgNCs as a nanoruler, diffusion constants of the nanocubes embedding into thin films of polystyrene (PS), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) were determined, and an Arrhenius temperature dependence on the diffusion constants was observed. The activation energies for the AgNCs embedding into the polymers were found to be 220 ± 51, 84 ± 18, and 239 ± 31 kJ mol-1 for PS, PMMA, and PVC, respectively. This study presents important information for rational design of nanoparticle-polymer composites.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C
Department of Chemistry

Bushell, M. (Michael), & Ianoul, A.I. (2018). Interfacial Diffusion of Silver Nanocrystals into Polymer Surfaces Monitored by Hybrid Plasmon Modes. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C, 122(18), 10197–10204. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b00314