University of Cambridge > > Extra Theoretical Chemistry Seminars > Self-organization of inorganic nanostructures: A polymer scientist approach

Self-organization of inorganic nanostructures: A polymer scientist approach

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Organized arrays of inorganic nanoparticles show collective electronic, optical, and magnetic properties that originate from the coupling of size- and shape-dependent properties of individual nanoparticles (NPs). Controllable and predictable assembly of NPs in complex, hierarchical structures provides a route to the fabrication of new materials and functional devices. Significant progress has been achieved in the bottom-top organization of NP arrays, yet, currently, this approach remains largely empirical.

In our work, we proposed two polymer paradigms for the self-assembly of metal and semiconductor NPs. One of the approaches was used to organize NPs in structures with varying architectures by exploiting a striking analogy between amphiphilic ABA triblock copolymers and polymer-tethered inorganic nanorods. The self-assembly process was mapped by phase-like diagrams. The process was tunable and reversible, and it was achieved solely by changing the solvent quality for the constituent polymer or inorganic blocks. In the second approach, we used the similarity between the self-assembly and step-growth polymerization to describe the kinetics and statistics of NP assembly.

We demonstrate the ability to control the optical properties of the self-assembled nanostructures. The proposed strategy provides a new route to the quantitatively predicted organization of nanoparticles in supracolloidal assemblies with new properties.

This talk is part of the Extra Theoretical Chemistry Seminars series.

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