Materials Science and Engineering; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Physics and Astronomy; Ames Laboratory
Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, Ames Laboratory
We report on pH- and salt-responsive assembly of nanoparticles capped with polyelectrolytes at vapor–liquid interfaces. Two types of alkylthiol-terminated poly(acrylic acid) (PAAs, varying in length) are synthesized and used to functionalize gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to mimic similar assembly effects of single-stranded DNA-capped AuNPs using synthetic polyelectrolytes. Using surface-sensitive X-ray scattering techniques, including grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) and X-ray reflectivity (XRR), we demonstrate that PAA-AuNPs spontaneously migrate to the vapor–liquid interfaces and form Gibbs monolayers by decreasing the pH of the suspension. The Gibbs monoalyers show chainlike structures of monoparticle thickness. The pH-induced self-assembly is attributed to the protonation of carboxyl groups and to hydrogen bonding between the neighboring PAA-AuNPs. In addition, we show that adding MgCl2 to PAA-AuNP suspensions also induces adsorption at the interface and that the high affinity between magnesium ions and carboxyl groups leads to two- and three-dimensional clusters that yield partial surface coverage and poorer ordering of NPs at the interface. We also examine the assembly of PAA-AuNPs in the presence of a positively charged Langmuir monolayer that promotes the attraction of the negatively charged capped NPs by electrostatic forces. Our results show that synthetic polyelectrolyte-functionalized nanoparticles exhibit interfacial self-assembly behavior similar to that of DNA-functionalized nanoparticles, providing a pathway for nanoparticle assembly in general.
Department of Energy Subject Categories
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY
Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)