A General Strategy for Highly Efficient Nanoparticle Dispersing Agents Based on Hybrid Dendritic Linear Block Copolymers.

graphical abstract
Vestberg, R.; Piekarski, A.M.; Pressly, E.D.; Van Berkel, K.Y.; Malkoch, M.; Gerbac, J.; Ueno, N.; Hawker, C.J.;
J. Polym. Sci., Polym. Chem.;
47, 1237-1258.

A modular approach to the synthesis of a library of hybrid dendritic-linear copolymers was developed based on RAFT polymerization from monodisperse dendritic macroRAFT agents. By accurately controlling the molecular weight of the linear block, generation number of the dendrimer and the nature of the dendritic chains ends, the performance of these hybrid block copolymers as dispersing agents was optimized for a range of nanoparticles. For titanium dioxide nanoparticles, dispersion in a poly(methyl methacrylate) matrix was maximized with a second generation dendrimer containing four carboxylic acid end groups, and the quality of dispersion was observed to be superior to commercial dispersing agents for TiO2. This approach also allowed novel hybrid dendritic-linear dispersing agents to be prepared for the dispersion of Au and CdSe nanoparticles based on disulphide and phosphine oxide end groups, respectively.