Magnetic filament brushes: tuning the properties of a magnetoresponsive supracolloidal coating

Sánchez, Pedro A.; Pyanzina, Elena; Novak, Ekaterina; Cerdà, Joan J.; Sintes, Tomas; Kantorovich, Sofia
Faraday Discussions 186, 241-263 (2016)

We present a theoretical study on the design of a supramolecular magnetoresponsive coating. The coating is formed by a relatively dense array of supracolloidal magnetic filaments grafted to a surface in a polymer brush-like arrangement. In order to determine and optimise the properties of the magnetic filament brush, we perform extensive computer simulations with a coarse-grained model that takes into account the correlations between the magnetic moments of the particles and the backbone crosslinks. We show that the self-assembly of magnetic beads from neighbouring filaments defines the equilibrium structural properties of the complete brush. In order to control this self-assembly, we highlight two external stimuli that can lead to significant effects: temperature of the system and an externally applied magnetic field. Our study reveals self-assembly scenarios inherently driven by the crosslinking and grafting constraints. Finally, we explain the mechanisms of structural changeovers in the magnetic filament brushes and confirm the possibility to control them by changing temperature or the intensity of an external magnetic field.

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