Colloquium - Soft Matter
Thermophoresis and thermal orientation of Janus nanoparticles in thermal fields
Department of Chemistry, Molecular Sciences Research Hub, Imperial College London, W12 0BZ, London, UK
2 Department of Applied Physics (Group of Optics), University of Cantabria, Avda. Los Castros, s/n, 39005, Santander, Spain
Accepted: 20 June 2022
Published online: 9 July 2022
Thermal fields provide a route to control the motion of nanoparticles and molecules and potentially modify the behaviour of soft matter systems. Janus nanoparticles have emerged as versatile building blocks for the self-assembly of materials with novel properties. Here we investigate using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations the behaviour of coarse-grained models of Janus nanoparticles under thermal fields. We examine the role of the heterogeneous structure of the particle on the Soret coefficient and thermal orientation by studying particles with different internal structures, mass distribution, and particle–solvent interactions. We also examine the thermophoretic response with temperature, targeting liquid and supercritical states and near-critical conditions. We find evidence for a significant enhancement of the Soret coefficient near the critical point, leading to the complete alignment of a Janus particle in the thermal field. This behaviour can be modelled and rationalized using a theory that describes the thermal orientation with the nanoparticle Soret coefficient, the mass and interaction anisotropy of the Janus nanoparticle, and the thermal field’s strength. Our simulations show that the mass anisotropy plays a crucial role in driving the thermal orientation of the Janus nanoparticles.
© The Author(s) 2022
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