In a News and Views piece, Linda Schadler puts the recent work of Rittigstein et al on interfaces in model polymer nanocomposites in perspective:

Three important conclusions arise from this work. First, the size of the interfacial region (which is half the interparticle spacing or film thickness) can be as large as 250 nm, and depends on the degree of interaction between the polymer and the particle. Although this functionality remains to be quantified, this is one of the first times this behaviour has been proved and quantitatively measured in a controlled nanocomposite system. Second, they show a quantitative correlation between thin-film thickness and an ‘effective interparticle spacing’ at which changes in Tg begin to occur. Third, they find that the ageing rate — the rate at which the amorphous polymer approaches its equilibrium state — decreases dramatically in both the ‘real’ and ‘model’ nanocomposites, which implies that nanocomposite properties will be more stable than pure polymers over time.

Take a look!