Copolymer Made from Inorganic Nanoparticles

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  • Published: 06 May 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Journal of the American Chemical Society/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Copolymer Made from Inorganic Nanoparticles

The self-assembly of nanoparticles (NPs) can be used to prepare functional materials. Predicting how nanoparticles will arrange, however, is challenging. Drawing parallels to the assembly of molecules into polymers could help with this.

Zhihong Nie, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, and University of Maryland, College Park, USA, and colleagues have used functionalized inorganic nanoparticles as monomers for a copolymerization. The team used either gold, silver, or Fe3O4 NPs and coated them with reactive block copolymers (BCPs) that are functionalized with either −COOH groups (monomer A) or −NMe2 groups (monomer B). The resulting monomers were mixed and combined with an acid catalyst to induce copolymerization.

The team found that the NP-based monomers act similar to molecular monomers, e.g., those in the production of nylon. They first rapidly form AB dimers, which then connect and produce an alternating copolymer. The kinetics and thermodynamics of the polymer growth are analogous to molecular systems. According to the researchers, other molecular reactions could be similarly transferred to nanoparticle systems.


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Wanderley dos Santos wrote:


Very interesting achievement! The model could be used to develop exclusive lateral pairing with free monomers in order to produce informational (DNA-like) nanocopolymers. It is a strong step toward programmable nano-structured materials. Congrats!

Wed May 22 13:49:14 UTC 2019

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