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Equilibrium and non-equilibrium thermodynamics of templating reactions for the formation of nanowires

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Scott Watson, Professor Andrew HoultonORCiD, Dr Ben Horrocks


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The thermodynamics of the templating of materials on one-dimensional templates, such as DNA, is modeled by considering two terms: the surface tension of the material (gamma) and a line energy (sigma = 2 pi r(T gamma T)) that represents the adhesion of the material to the template (radius r(T)). We show that as long as the reaction stoichiometry does not exceed a certain limit (root 3 nu/2 pi < r(T) vertical bar gamma T vertical bar/gamma; nu = volume of material per unit length of template) then a sample of smooth, uniform wires is the equilibrium state. If the amount of material exceeds this limit, then the material will comprise a single macroscopic particle at equilibrium. The behavior of the system is similar to a morphological wetting transition and the model can rationalize the available experimental data on the reaction conditions required to form smooth DNA-templated nanowires. Using the framework of linear non-equilibrium thermodynamics, we also show that the model can describe qualitatively the observed evolution of these nanostructures from beads-on-a-string morphologies to smooth nanowires and construct a stochastic differential equation for the process. Numerical simulations and scaling arguments suggest that the same scaling behavior as the Edwards-Wilkinson equation is observed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watson SMD, Houlton A, Horrocks BR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nanotechnology

Year: 2012

Volume: 23

Issue: 50

Print publication date: 29/11/2012

ISSN (print): 0957-4484

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6528

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/50/505603


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