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Nanoparticle Diffusion within Dilute and Semidilute Xanthan Solutions

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journal contribution
posted on 22.05.2019 by Kavindya K. Senanayake, Ashis Mukhopadhyay
We measured the translation diffusion coefficient (D) of nanoparticles within dilute and semidilute solutions of a semiflexible polymer, xanthan. Our results showed that for particle diameters (d) of 5 and 10 nm, the obstruction theory can explain the concentration (c) dependence of D in the dilute regime. Diffusion in semidilute solutions is better explained by additionally considering the modified Darcy flow with the hydrodynamic screening length varying according to κ ≈ c–0.76. The depletion effect is operative for larger particles (d = 30 nm) within semidilute solutions. We used a scaling relation for the depletion layer thickness δ ≈ ξν, where ξ is the static correlation length and the exponent ν ≈ 0.42 that can explain our data. This is in contrast with a flat surface, where the exponent is expected to be 1. Our results showed that in the situation, when the polymer network relaxation is much slower compared to the diffusive time-scale of particles, no single theory is capable to describe the concentration and size dependence of particle mobility.