ERA Chair Professor Vangelis Harmandaris, together with former CyI Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Petra Bacova (currently at the University of Cádiz, Spain as a “María Zambrano” fellow) and former visiting PhD student Eirini Gkolfi, recently published a paper entitled “Soft Character of Star-Like Polymer Melts: From Linear-Like Chains to Impenetrable Nanoparticles”, in the highly esteemed journal ACS Nano Letters. The article was selected for the supplementary journal cover.
Their study revolves around star polymers, which represent well-defined, soft nano-objects. The effect of chemistry-specific details of star polymers on the penetrability in a melt was studied using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations.
The study shows that, amongst other factors, the soft character of a variety of stars depends on the intra- and intermolecular packing in the system. These findings, together with the two-layer model recently developed by the group, represent a step forward in providing a fundamental understanding of the soft character of stars that can guide their design toward advanced applications in nano-medicine, separation membranes, and all-polymer nanocomposites.