Nanocomposite hydrogels have received particular research attention in accommodating diverse nanoparticles because of their tunable structures. In particular, assembling nanoclusters (NCs) onto supporting substrates can not only stabilize and disperse the NCs, but also give the composite materials synergistically enhanced properties. However, it still remains a challenge to assemble NCs in situ within hydrogel matrices.
You-Nian Liu, Minghui Yang, Central South University, Changsha, China, and colleagues have prepared gold nanoclusters (AuNCs), embedded hydrogels in situ by exploiting the triple roles of a protein as a gelator, a reducing agent, and as a template. Incubated with AuCl4– under alkaline conditions, the protein bovine serum albumin (BSA) can self-assemble into hydrogels embedded with AuNCs. The obtained AuNCs-BSA nanocomposite hydrogels exhibit both injectable and moldable features.
The composite materials can also be engineered into semitransparent films or carbonized into N-doped C/AuNPs composites. The obtained nanocomposite hydrogels have potential applications in biomedicine, energy, and catalysis.
- In situ Assembly of Au Nanoclusters within Protein Hydrogel Networks,
Liqiang Wang, Xingxing Jiang, Min Zhang, Minghui Yang, You-Nian Liu,
Chem. Asian J. 2017.