Herein, we report the directional stimuli-responsive self-assembly of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) coated with a thermoresponsive block copolymer (BCP), poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PEG-b-PNIPAM) and charged small molecules. AuNPs modified with PEG-b-PNIPAM possessing a AuNP/PNIPAM/PEG core/active/shell structure undergo temperature-induced self-assembly into one-dimensional (1D) or two-dimensional (2D) structures in salt solutions, with the morphology varying with the ionic strength of the medium. Salt-free self-assembly is also realized by modulating the surface charge by the codeposition of positively charged small molecules; 1D or 2D assemblies are formed depending on the ratio between the small molecule and PEG-b-PNIPAM, consistent with the trend observed with the bulk salt concentration. A series of charge-controlled self-assembly at various conditions revealed that the temperature-induced BCP-mediated self-assembly reported here provides an effective means for on-demand directional self-assembly of nanoparticles (NPs) with controlled morphology, interparticle distance, and optical properties, and the fixation of high-temperature structures.
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