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Nanoscale

Cascade synthesis of a gold nanoparticle-network polymer composite.


PMID 26524426

Abstract

The multi-step, cascade synthesis of a self-supporting, hierarchically-structured gold nanoparticle hydrogel composite is described. The composite is spontaneously prepared from a non-covalent, lamellar lyotropic mesophase composed of amphiphiles that support the reactive constituents, a mixture of hydroxyl- and acrylate-end-derivatized PEO117-PPO47-PEO117 and [AuCl4](-). The reaction sequence begins with the auto-reduction of aqueous [AuCl4](-) by PEO117-PPO47-PEO117 which leads to both the production of Au NPs and the free radical initiated polymerization and crosslinking of the acrylate end-derivatized PEO117-PPO47-PEO117 to yield a network polymer. Optical spectroscopy and TEM monitored the reduction of [AuCl4](-), formation of large aggregated Au NPs and oxidative etching into a final state of dispersed, spherical Au NPs. ATR/FT-IR spectroscopy and thermal analysis confirms acrylate crosslinking to yield the polymer network. X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS) monitored the evolution of the multi-lamellar structured mesophase and revealed the presence of semi-crystalline PEO confined within the water layers. The hydrogel could be reversibly swollen without loss of the well-entrained Au NPs with full recovery of composite structure. Optical spectroscopy shows a notable red shift (Δλ ∼ 45 nm) in the surface plasmon resonance between swollen and contracted states, demonstrating solvent-mediated modulation of the internal NP packing arrangement.

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