Thermal Transport through Polymer-Linked Gold Nanoparticles

XF Wei and E Harazinska and YN Zhao and Y Zhuang and R Hernandez, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.2c05816

Polymer-nanoparticle networks have potential applications in molecular electronics and nanophononics. In this work, we use all-atom molecular dynamics to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of thermal transport in polymer-linked gold nanoparticle (AuNP) dimers at the molecular level. Attachment of the polymers to AuNPs of varying sizes allows the determination of effects from the flexibility of the chains when their ends are not held fixed. We report heat conductance (G) values for six polymers-viz. polyethylene, poly(p-phenylene), polyacene, polyacetylene, polythiophene, and poly(3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene)-that represent a broad range of stiffness. We address the multimode effects of polymer type, AuNP size, polymer chain length, polymer conformation, system temperature, and number of linking polymers on G. The combination of the mechanisms for phonon boundary scattering and intrinsic phonon scattering has a strong effect on G. We find that the values of G are larger for conjugated polymers because of the stiffness in their backbones. They are also larger in the low-temperature region for all polymers owing to the quenching of segmental rotations at low temperature. Our simulations also suggest that the total G is additive as the number of linking polymers in the AuNP dimer increases from 1 to 2 to 3.

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