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Polymers 2016, 8(4), 134; doi:10.3390/polym8040134

Uptake of pH-Sensitive Gold Nanoparticles in Strong Polyelectrolyte Brushes

Stranski-Laboratorium für Phyisikalische Chemie, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 124, 10623 Berlin, Germany
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Academic Editor: André Laschewsky
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Aqueous Media)
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Abstract

The impact of electrostatic attraction on the uptake of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) into positively charged strong poly-[2-(Methacryloyloxy) ethyl] trimethylammonium chloride (PMETAC) polyelectrolyte brushes was investigated. In this work, PMETAC brushes were synthesized via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (Si-ATRP). PMETAC/AuNP composite materials were prepared by incubation of the polymer brush coated samples into 3-mercaptopropionic acid-capped AuNP (5 nm in diameter) suspension. The electrostatic interactions were tuned by changing the surface charge of the AuNPs through variations in pH value, while the charge of the PMETAC brush was not affected. Atomic-force microscopy (AFM), ellipsometry, UV/Vis spectroscopy, gravimetric analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were employed to study the loading and penetration into the polymer brush. The results show that the number density of attached AuNPs depends on the pH value and increases with increasing pH value. There is also strong evidence that the particle assembly is dependent on the pH value of the AuNP suspension. Incubation of PMETAC brushes in AuNP suspension at pH 4 led to the formation of a surface layer on top of the brush (2D assembly) due to sterical hindrance of the clustered AuNPs, while incubation in AuNP suspension at pH 8 led to deeper particle penetration into the brush (3D assembly). The straightforward control of particle uptake and assembly by tuning the charge density of the nanoparticle surface is a valuable tool for the development of materials for colorimetric sensor applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer brushes; gold nanoparticles; nanocomposite; polyelectrolyte; surface plasmon resonance; electrostatic interaction; smart surfaces; surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (Si-ATRP) polymer brushes; gold nanoparticles; nanocomposite; polyelectrolyte; surface plasmon resonance; electrostatic interaction; smart surfaces; surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (Si-ATRP)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kesal, D.; Christau, S.; Krause, P.; Möller, T.; von Klitzing, R. Uptake of pH-Sensitive Gold Nanoparticles in Strong Polyelectrolyte Brushes. Polymers 2016, 8, 134.

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