Controlled Supramolecular Assembly of Micelle-Like Gold Nanoparticles in PS-b-P2VP Diblock Copolymers via Hydrogen Bonding
We report a facile strategy to synthesize amphiphilic gold (Au) nanoparticles functionalized with a multilayer, micelle-like structure consisting of a Au core, an inner hydroxylated polyisoprene (PIOH) layer, and an outer polystyrene shell (PS). Careful control of enthalpic interactions via a systematic variation of structural parameters, such as number of hydroxyl groups per ligand (NOH) and styrene repeating units (NPS) as well as areal chain density of ligands on the Au-core surface (Σ), enables precise control of the spatial distribution of these nanoparticles. This control was demonstrated in a lamellae-forming poly(styrene-b-2-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P2VP) diblock copolymer matrix, where the favorable hydrogen-bonding interaction between hydroxyl groups in the PIOH inner shell and P2VP chains in the PS-b-P2VP diblock copolymer matrix, driving the nanoparticles to be segregated in P2VP domains, could be counter balanced by the enthalphic penalty of mixing of the PS outer brush with the P2VP domains. By varying NOH, NPS, and Σ, the nanoparticles could be positioned in the PS or P2VP domains or at the PS/P2VP interface. In addition, the effect of additives interfering with the hydrogen-bond formation between hydroxyl groups on Au nanoparticles and P2VP chains in a diblock copolymer matrix was investigated, and an interesting pea-pod-like segregation of Au nanoparticles in PS domains was observed.