In silico synthesis of microgels: structure, elasticity and effective interactions in bulk and at liquid-liquid interfaces

Higgs Centre colloquium

In silico synthesis of microgels: structure, elasticity and effective interactions in bulk and at liquid-liquid interfaces

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 13th November 2020
  • Speaker: Dr Emanuela Zaccarreli (Sapienza University of Rome)
  • Location: Higgs Centre Seminar Room, Room 4305,

Event details

Microgels are soft particles individually made by cross-linked polymer networks which are nowadays widely used as a colloidal model system because of their swelling properties and their responsivity to external control parameters such temperature or pH. While extensively used as model systems in experimental, their numerical investigation lagged behind due to the inherently complex and multiscale nature of the particles. In this talk I will illustrate the protocol that we recently developed to synthesize microgels in-silico, providing a realistic description of the particles, in particular their characteristic inhomogeneous core-corona structure and their swelling behavior. I will also report on the calculation of their elastic properties and effective interactions in bulk and at liquid-liquid interfaces. The numerical results will be compared to available experiments. Our work aims to establish a clear link between the microscopic network properties and the resulting microgel-microgel interactions, paving the way for a deeper understanding of the behaviour of microgel suspensions.