Self-Assembly of Nanoparticle Surfactants
Lombardo, Michael Thomas
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Self-assembly utilizes non-covalent forces to organize smaller building blocks into larger, organized structures. Nanoparticles are one type of building block and have gained interest recently due to their unique optical and electrical properties which have proved useful in fields such as energy, catalysis, and advanced materials. There are several techniques currently used to self-assemble nanoparticles, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Here, we address the limited number of techniques in non-polar solvents by introducing a method utilizing amphiphilic gold nanoparticles. Grafted polymer chains provide steric stabilization while small hydrophilic molecules induce assembly through short range attractive forces. The properties of these self-assembled structures are found to be dependent on the polymer and small molecules surface concentrations and chemistries. These particles act as nanoparticle surfactants and can effectively stabilize oil-water interfaces, such as in an emulsion. In addition to the work in organic solvent, similar amphiphilic particles in aqueous media are shown to effectively stabilize oil-in-water emulsions that show promise as photoacoustic/ultrasound theranostic agents.
- Chemical engineering