Molecules can copolymerize to form longer composite chains; it turns out that nanoparticles called colloidal particles can also copolymerize to make hybrid nanostructures. The fact that these reactions occur in a very similar manner is not obvious, but this could be used to carry out fundamental studies of copolymerization reactions. However, colloidal polymers are primarily useful for the development of highly complex nanosystems. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a team of Chinese, Canadian, and American researchers has presented a report about the copolymerization of gold nanorods of various sizes as well as gold and palladium nanorods.
Polymers made of metal nanoparticles are particularly interesting because of their plasmons – quantized charge carrier density oscillations resulting from the collective excitation of free electrons to plasma oscillations. Long chains of metal nanoparticles known as plasmonic polymers display strong interactions between the plasmons of the individual building blocks.
Their optical properties can be controlled by means of factors like the degree of polymerization, the size of the nanoparticles, or the distance between particles. Copolymer chains made from nanoparticles with different sizes, shapes and compositions are even more interesting as they offer another degree of freedom in tuning the properties (and potentially, leading to new properties) of plasmonic polymers. Potential applications could include smaller computer chips, improved nanoantennas and sensors, and improved optical data processing.
The researchers from Jilin University (China), the University of Toronto (Canada), and the University of North Carolina (USA) have now developed methods for applying strategies from molecular copolymerization (the polymerization of different monomers together) to the co-assembly of nanorods of varying sizes and composition. Led by Kun Liu and Eugenia Kumacheva, the team uses gold nanorods with polystyrene chains on the ends as building blocks.
Addition of water to the organic solvent containing a suspension of the nanorods causes the polystyrene ends, which are only poorly soluble in water, to bond tightly together, connecting the nanorods into long polymer chains. This approach was extended to the co-assembly of random and block copolymers of gold nanorods of different length as well as random copolymers of gold and palladium nanorods. (Random copolymers contain different monomers in a random order; in a block copolymer the polymer chain contains larger domains of either one or the other monomer.)
The researchers were able to establish a model for the reactions that confirmed and extended established kinetic theories for molecular stepwise copolymerization reactions. The colloidal polymers obtained also provide an excellent model system for the fundamental investigation of plasmonic properties such as special modes resulting from the asymmetry of nanostructures with irregularly distributed components.
About the Author
Dr. Eugenia Kumacheva is a University Professor at the University of Toronto with a major appointment in the Department of Chemistry and cross-appointments in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). Her main specialty is the chemistry, physics, and materials science of soft matter, with the focus on polymers, nanoscience, and microfluidics. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and recipient of a Humboldt Research Award and a Fellowship from the Killam Foundation. In 2009 she was awarded the L'Oreal-Unesco "Women in Science" Award given to five women in the world, one from each continent.
Author: Eugenia Kumacheva, University of Toronto (Canada), http://www.chem.utoronto.ca/staff/EK/index.htm
Title: Copolymerization of Metal Nanoparticles: A Route to Colloidal Plasmonic Copolymers
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201309718
Dr. Eugenia Kumacheva | Angewandte Chemie
Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System
Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences