Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Click! That's how modern chemistry bonds nanoparticles to a substrate


Nanoparticles of various types can be quickly and permanently bonded to a solid substrate, if one of the most effective methods of synthesis, click chemistry, is used for this purpose. The novel method has been presented by a team of researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

A small movement of the hand, the characteristic 'click!' - and the snap fastener quickly and securely fastens our clothes. One of the newest methods of synthesis in modern chemistry, click chemistry, works on a similar basis. Here, molecules are combined to form new chemical compounds by means of chemical 'snaps'.

This is a pictorial representation of the main idea of click chemistry used at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, to bond gold nanoparticles to a carbon substrate. Nitrogen "snap fasteners" in the carbon substrate (emerging palms) bind chemically with the carbon "snap fasteners" on modified gold nanoparticles (here shown as a balloons).

Credit: IPC PAS, Grzegorz Krzyzewski

The method has so far been used mainly for the synthesis of more complex organic compounds. Now at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw, Poland, they have managed to show that click chemistry chemical snaps can quickly, effectively and permanently bond much larger structures: gold nanoparticles to a glassy carbon substrate.

The main idea of click chemistry was formulated in the final years of the previous century. It was inspired by nature, among others by the large number of proteins that arise from the diverse combination of amino acids with the same bond (peptide).

Chemistry according to the click method has a lot of advantages. Many reactions take place at low temperatures, in addition in a single solvent, which can often be environmentally friendly water. What's more, the yield of the reaction is high: usually approx. 80-90%. The versatility, efficiency and selectivity of click chemistry has made it very popular, especially in the synthesis of new organic compounds.

"Click chemistry is similar to building new structures with building blocks. The blocks can be various chemical compounds, what is important is for them to have matching snaps. A problem arises when they are not present. Then you have to consider whether you can somehow attach the right snaps to a given building block," says Dr. Joanna Niedzió?ka-Jönsson (IPC PAS).

The Warsaw-based chemists decided to apply click chemistry not to chemicals, as was previously the norm, but to bond nanoparticles - i.e. relatively large objects - to solid substrates.

"Usually, nanoparticles are simply deposited on the substrate and they attach to it by quite weak physical, for example electrostatic, interactions. We decided to show that with click chemistry they can be bonded to the substrate with covalent chemical bonds and thus permanently," stresses Dr. Adam Le?niewski (IPC PAS), winner of the Iuventus Plus grant from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, under which the study was carried out.

To form the bond, the researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS used well-known chemical 'snap fasteners': groups of three nitrogen atoms (azides), which in the presence of a catalyst can combine with groups of carbon atoms (terminal alkynes) located at the end of other molecules. When they are connected, the two groups form stable nitrogen-carbon (triazole) rings. In this study, the azide groups were located on a glassy carbon substrate, and the terminal alkynes were introduced onto the surface of gold nanoparticles.

In earlier studies at the IPS PAS the catalyst participating in the reaction was produced chemically. Currently an electrochemical method is used for its generation, in which the role of the substrate is played by an appropriately prepared carbon electrode.

"We have managed to adjust the conditions of the whole process so that the suspension of gold nanoparticles in the solution surrounding the electrode remains stable while maintaining an appropriate concentration of copper two ions and supporting electrolyte. In this environment, the production of the right catalyst, complexes of copper one and the bonding of nanoparticles itself to the substrate is very efficient," explains PhD student Justyna Matyjewicz (IPC PAS).

Using a flow of current has significantly shortened the reaction time of the nanoparticles bonding to the substrate.

"We have been working with gold nanoparticles and carbon substrates, but our method is universal and in the future it can be used to produce substrates from other materials," emphasises Dr. Niedzió?ka-Jönsson.

Substrates produced by the Warsaw chemists are already making it easy to detect, among others, nitrites in the presence of sulphites. Sensors constructed on the basis of such substrates can be used, for example, to detect the presence of preservatives in foodstuffs. In the future, the type of click chemistry proposed by the IPC PAS researchers may find an application in the production of new, stable substrates for a variety of chemical sensors and electrodes employed in flow systems.


The Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences was established in 1955 as one of the first chemical institutes of the PAS. The Institute's scientific profile is strongly related to the newest global trends in the development of physical chemistry and chemical physics. Scientific research is conducted in nine scientific departments. CHEMIPAN R&D Laboratories, operating as part of the Institute, implement, produce and commercialise specialist chemicals to be used, in particular, in agriculture and pharmaceutical industry. The Institute publishes approximately 200 original research papers annually.

Media Contact

Dr. Eng. Joanna Niedzióka-Jönsson

Dr. Eng. Joanna Niedzió?ka-Jönsson | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>