Chang Liu, Wenxian Hu, Hanqiu Jiang, Guoming Liu*, Charles C. Han, Henning Sirringhaus, François Boué, and Dujin Wang
The determination of intrinsic chain stiffness of conjugated polymers is challenging, in particular, for scattering techniques because of their strong light absorption and structural instability due to the complicated intra-/intermolecular interactions. In this work, the chain conformation and aggregation formation of a high charge mobility donor–acceptor polymer (DPPDTT) are systematically investigated by using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and static/dynamic light scattering (SLS/DLS). On the one hand, chloroform was chosen as a good solvent, in which SANS reveals a rod-like geometry with a radius of ∼15 Å. Once the absorption effect is properly accounted for, SLS shows a power law of 1 between the radius of gyration (Rg) and molecular weight (Mw) and a negative second virial coefficient (A2). On the other hand, 1,2-dichlorobenzene was chosen as a poor solvent, in which SANS, SLS/DLS, and atomic force microscopy (AFM) reveal a strong temperature-/concentration-dependent assembling behavior. The results provide a general picture of the multiscale assembly process of conjugated polymers.
K. Beauvois, V. Simonet, S. Petit, J. Robert, F. Bourdarot, M. Gospodinov, A.A. Mukhin, R. Ballou, V. Skumryev, and E. Ressouche
The research field of magnetic frustration is dominated by triangle-based lattices but exotic phenomena can also be observed in pentagonal networks. A peculiar noncollinear magnetic order is indeed known to be stabilized in Bi2Fe4O9 materializing a Cairo pentagonal lattice. We present the spin wave excitations in the magnetically ordered state, obtained by inelastic neutron scattering. They reveal an unconventional excited state related to local precession of pairs of spins. The magnetic excitations are then modeled to determine the superexchange interactions for which the frustration is indeed at the origin of the spin arrangement. This analysis unveils a hierarchy in the interactions, leading to a paramagnetic state (close to the Néel temperature) constituted of strongly coupled dimers separated by much less correlated spins. This produces two types of response to an applied magnetic field associated with the two nonequivalent Fe sites, as observed in the magnetization distributions obtained using polarized neutrons.
Li Shi, Florent Carn, Arsen Goukassov, Eric Buhler, and François Boué
Mixing negatively charged polyelectrolyte (PEL) with positively charged gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) in aqueous solution results in electrostatics complexes of different shapes and compactness. Here, when complexing with a semirigid PEL hyaluronic acid (HA), we obtain crystals made of nanoparticles in a new region of the phase diagram, as evidenced by small-angle Xray scattering (SAXS). The Au NPs were initially well dispersed in solution; their size distribution is well controlled but does not need to be extremely narrow. The bacterial hyaluronic acid, polydispersed, is commercially available. Such rather simple materials and mixing preparation produce a highly ordered crystalline phase of electrostatic complexes. The details of the interactions between spherical nanoparticles and linear polymer chains remain to be investigated. In practice, it opens a completely new and unexpected method of complexation. It has high potential, in particular because one can take advantage of the versatility of Au NPs associated with the specificity of biopolymers, varied due to natural biodiversity.
Marine Le Goas, Tom Roussel, Maria Kalbazova, David Carrière, Elodie Barruet, Valerie Geertsen, Giulia C. Fadda, Fabienne Testard, Geraldine Carrot and Jean-Philippe Renault
Nanomedicines are considered as promising therapeutics for cancer treatment. However, clinical translation is still scarce, partly because their biological behavior is not well understood. Extracting general guidelines from the great variety of nanoparticles and conditions studied is indeed difficult, and relevant techniques are lacking to obtain in situ information. Here, both issues are solved by combining versatile model nanoparticles with in situ tools based on small-angle scattering techniques (SAS). The strategy was to develop a library of nanoparticles and perform systematic study of their interactions with biological systems. Considering the promising properties of gold nanoparticles as cancer therapeutics, polymethacrylate-grafted gold nanoparticles were chosen as models. Modulation of polymer chemistry was shown to change the surface properties while keeping the same structure for all nanoparticles. This unity allowed reliable comparison to extract general principles, while the synthesis versatility enabled to fine-tune the nanoparticles surface properties, especially through copolymerization, and thus to optimize their biological behavior. Two specific aspects were particularly examined: colloidal stability and cell uptake. Positive charges and hydrophobicity were identified as key parameters influencing toxicity and internalization. In situ SAS gave valuable information about nanoparticles evolution in biologically relevant environments. Good colloidal stability was thereby shown in cell culture media, while intracellular transformation and quantity of nanoparticles were monitored, highlighting the potential of these techniques for nanomedicines studies.
Premakumar Yanda, I. V. Golosovsky, I. Mirebeau, N. V. Ter-Oganessian, Juan Rodríguez-Carvajal and A. Sundaresan
In most of the spin-induced multiferroics, the ferroelectricity is caused by inversion symmetry breaking by complex spin structures of the transition-metal ions. Here, we report the importance of interplay of 4 f -3d magnetic interactions in inducing ferroelectricity in the centrosymmetric (Pnma) green phase compound Gd2BaCuO5. With decreasing temperature, a long-range incommensurate ordering of both Gd3+ and Cu2+ spins at TN = 11.8 K occurs with the modulation vector k = (0, 0, g) and a lock-in transition to a strongly noncollinear structure with kc = (0, 0, 1/2) at Tloc ∼ 6 K. Both spin structures induce electric polarization consistent with the polar magnetic space groups Pm1 (α, 0, g)ss and Paca21, respectively. Based on the symmetry analysis of magnetoelectric interactions, we suggest that the ferroelectricity in both commensurate and incommensurate phases is driven by a complex interplay of two-spins and single-spin contributions from magnetic ions located in noncentrosymmetric environments. Our study demonstrates that the green phase family of compounds may serve as a playground for studying the multiferroic phenomena, where the interplay of 4 f -3d interactions demonstrates an alternative route to find magnetoelectric materials.
We show by X-ray and neutron small-angle scattering that gold nanoparticles with controlled sizes and morphologies can be obtained by the metallic reduction of AuCl4– ions trapped in 3D organic molds by X-ray radiolysis. The molds are spherical frozen micelles of polystyrene-b-poly(dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PDMAEMA) block copolymer in acidic aqueous solution with a PS spherical core surrounded by a corona of PDMAEMA chains in good solvent. The behavior of micelles is controlled by the [AuCl4–]/[DMAEMA] ratio RAuCl4–/DMAEMA. At low gold concentration, AuCl4– ions condense on the positively charged DMAEMA moieties without changing the behavior of the PDMAEMA chains. At intermediate gold concentration, the ions induce a progressive contraction of the corona’s chains and dehydration of micelles. At large gold concentration, the corona becomes a fully dry phase loaded with gold ions, which induces micelle aggregation. Radiolysis of the solution by an intense X-ray beam produces different types of gold nanoparticles with respect to RAuCl4–/DMAEMA and irradiation time. At RAuCl4–/DMAEMA = 0.033, irradiation produces in the first step gold clusters in the micelle corona which in the second step merge to form nanoparticles of a similar size to that of the micelle. Conversely, at RAuCl4–/DMAEMA = 0.33, micelles do not operate as templates but only as nucleation zones and large nanoparticles grow outside the micelles.
Andrew M. Jimenez, Dan Zhao, Kyle Misquitta, Jacques Jestin and Sanat K. Kumar
Understanding the structure and dynamics of the bound polymer layer (BL) that forms on favorably interacting nanoparticles (NPs) is critical to revealing the mechanisms responsible for material property enhancements in polymer nanocomposites (PNCs). Here we use small angle neutron scattering to probe the temporal persistence of this BL in the canonical case of poly(2-vinylpyridine) (P2VP) mixed with silica NPs at two representative temperatures. We have observed almost no long-term reorganization at 150 °C (∼Tg,P2VP + 50 °C), but a notable reduction in the BL thickness at 175 °C. We believe that this apparently strong temperature dependence arises from the polyvalency of the binding of a single P2VP chain to a NP. Thus, while the adsorption–desorption process of a single segment is an activated process that occurs over a broad temperature range, the cooperative nature of requiring multiple segments to desorb converts this into a process that occurs over a seemingly narrow temperature range.
La recherche de nouveaux états de la matière, allant au-delà de la description classique "à la Landau" suscite un très fort engouement en physique. Dans cette perspective, les travaux théoriques orientent ces recherches vers les systèmes présentant des "ordres topologiques", tels que certains "liquides de spin quantiques" et autres états fortement corrélés, caractérisés en particulier par l’absence de symétrie brisée.
Sur le plan expérimental, c’est la recherche d’une contrepartie quantique des "glaces de spins" qui a retenu l’attention. Ces composés forment un analogue magnétique de la glace d’eau, où le comportement des spins reflète exactement celui du désordre des protons dans H2O.
Une équipe internationale formée de chercheurs du PSI (Suisse), du Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science (USA), de l’Institut Néel à Grenoble et du LLB à Saclay a mis en évidence par diverses techniques, dont la diffusion des neutrons, un exemple de cette contrepartie quantique des glaces de spin. Plus précisément, il s’agit d’un état "glacé" particulier, où la distribution octupolaire de la densité électronique joue le rôle des moments magnétiques dans les glaces de spins classiques. L’étude des interactions montre que l’état fondamental est constitué d’une superposition quantique d’états intriqués, confirmant ainsi les prédictions théoriques sur les liquides de spins quantiques.
Aline Maire du Poset, Mikaela Börjesson, Céline Rameau, Claire Madeleine-Perdrillat, Adrien Lerbret, Camille Loupiac, Fabrice Cousin, Ali Assifaoui
We show here how the structure of polygalacturonate (polyGalA) hydrogels cross-linked by Ca2+ cations via external gelation controls the loading and release rate of beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), a globular protein. Hydrogels prepared from a polyGalA/BLG solution are found to be similar to those obtained from a polyGalA solution in our previous study (Maire du Poset et al. Biomacromolecules 2019, 20 (7), 2864–2872): they exhibit similar transparencies and gradients of mechanical properties and polyGalA concentrations. The nominal BLG/polyGalA ratio of the mixtures is almost recovered within the whole mixed hydrogel despite such strong concentration gradients, except in the part of the hydrogels with the largest mesh size, where more BLG proteins are present. This gradient enables one to tune the amount of protein loaded within the hydrogel. At a local scale, the proteins are distributed evenly within the hydrogel network, as shown by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). The release of proteins from hydrogels is driven by Fickian diffusion, and the release rate increases with the mesh size of the network, with a characteristic time of a few hours. The specific structure of these polysaccharide-based hydrogels allows for control of both the dosage and the release rate of the loaded protein and makes them good candidates for use as oral controlled-delivery systems.
A. C. Ferreira, S. Paofai, A. Létoublon, J. Ollivier, S. Raymond, B. Hehlen, B. Rufflé, S. Cordier, C. Katan, J. Even & P. Bourges
Hybrid organolead perovskites (HOP) have started to establish themselves in the field of photovoltaics, mainly due to their great optoelectronic properties and steadily improving solar cell efficiency. Study of the lattice dynamics is key in understanding the electron-phonon interactions at play, responsible for such properties. Here, we investigate, via neutron and Raman spectroscopies, the optical phonon spectrum of four different HOP single crystals: MAPbBr3, FAPbBr3, MAPbI3, and α-FAPbI3. Low temperature spectra reveal weakly dispersive optical phonons, at energies as low as 2-5 meV, which seem to be the origin of the limit of the charge carriers mobilities in these materials. The temperature dependence of our neutron spectra shows as well a significant anharmonic behaviour, resulting in optical phonon overdamping at temperatures as low as 80 K, questionning the validity of the quasi-particle picture for the low energy optical modes at room temperature where the solar cells operate.
de Oliveira-Silva, Rodrigo; Bélime, Agathe; Le Coeur, Clémence; Chennevière, Alexis; Helary, Arnaud; Cousin, Fabrice; Judeinstein, Patrick; Sakellariou, Dimitrios; Zanotti, Jean-Marc
In soft condensed matter, Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) is a central tool to probe structures with characteristic sizes ranging from 1 to 100 nm. However, when used as a standalone technique, the dynamic properties of the sample are not accessible. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a versatile technique which can easily probe dynamical information. Here, we report on the coupling of a low-field NMR system to a SANS instrument. We show that this original set-up makes it possible to obtain structural information and to simultaneously extract in situ on a same sample, long-range translational diffusion coefficient, T1T1 and T2T2 nuclear spin relaxation times. Such a feature is of major interest when a sample experiences a transient physical state or evolves rapidly. We illustrate the capabilities of alliancing these experimental methods by following the critical temperature-induced phase separation of a concentrated Poly(Methacrylic Acid) solution at its Lower Critical Solution Temperature. The characteristic size related to the domain growth of the polymer-rich phase of the gel is monitored by the evolution of the SANS spectra, while the dynamics of the sol phase (H2O and polymer) is simultaneously characterized by NMR by measuring T1T1, T2T2 and the diffusion coefficient. Great care has been taken to design a cell able to optimize the thermalization of the sample and in particular its equilibration time. Details are given on the sample cell specifically designed and manufactured for these experiments. The acquisition time needed to reach good signal-to-noise ratios, for both NMR and SANS, match: it is of the order of one hour. Altogether, we show that in situ low-field NMR/SANS coupling the NMR is meaningful and is a promising experimental approach.
N. Martin, M. Deutsch, T. C. Hansen, M. T. Fernandez-Diaz, L. N. Fomicheva, A. V. Tsvyashchenko, and I. Mirebeau
In the MnGe chiral magnet, the helimagnetic order and local moment collapse in two steps, showing the succession of high spin (HS) and low spin (LS) states as pressure increases. Here, we use high-pressure neutron diffraction to study the doped compounds Mn0.86Co0.14Ge and Mn0.9Rh0.1Ge, and show that the evolution of their microscopic magnetic properties is instead continuous. It means that the bulk HS-LS transition is a unique feature of pure MnGe, very sensitive to small changes of the band structure and easily suppressed by chemical substitution. On the other hand, the helimagnetic correlations appear to be strengthened by doping and survive up to larger pressures (≈19 GPa, to be compared with ≈13 GPa). We discuss these results in the light of other disordered systems with remarkable properties, the so-called Invar alloys.