In situ precision synthesis of monodisperse hairy plasmonic nanoparticles with tailored dimensions and compositions by capitalizing on amphiphilic star-like diblock copolymers as nanoreactors are reported. Such hairy plasmonic nanoparticles comprise uniform noble metal nanoparticles intimately and perpetually capped by hydrophobic polymer chains (i.e., “hairs”) with even length. Interestingly, amphiphilic star-like diblock copolymer nanoreactors retain the spherical shape under reaction conditions, and the diameter of the resulting plasmonic nanoparticles and the thickness of polymer chains situated on the surface of the nanoparticle can be readily and precisely tailored. These hairy nanoparticles can be regarded as hard/soft core/shell nanoparticles. Notably, the polymer “hairs” are directly and permanently tethered to the noble metal nanoparticle surface, thereby preventing the aggregation of nanoparticles and rendering their dissolution in nonpolar solvents and the homogeneous distribution in polymer matrices with long-term stability. This amphiphilic star-like block copolymer nanoreactor-based strategy is viable and robust and conceptually enables the design and synthesis of a rich variety of hairy functional nanoparticles with new horizons for fundamental research on self-assembly and technological applications in plasmonics, catalysis, energy conversion and storage, bioimaging, and biosensors.
- amphiphilic star-like block copolymers
- hairy plasmonic nanoparticles
- hard/soft hybrid nanomaterials