Localized diffusive motion on two different time scales in solid alkane nanoparticles
High-energy-resolution quasielastic neutron scattering on three complementary spectrometers has been used to investigate molecular diffusive motion in solid nano- to bulk-sized particles of the alkane n-C32H66. The crystalline-to-plastic and plastic-to-fluid phase transition temperatures are observed to decrease as the particle size decreases. In all samples, localized molecular diffusive motion in the plastic phase occurs on two different time scales: a "fast" motion corresponding to uniaxial rotation about the long molecular axis; and a "slow" motion attributed to conformational changes of the molecule. Contrary to the conventional interpretation in bulk alkanes, the fast uniaxial rotation begins in the low- temperature crystalline phase.
S.-K. Wang et al 2010 EPL 91 66007