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Solvent-induced assembly of patchy silica nanoparticles : towards new colloidal molecules

Abstract : This study deals with the assembly of patchy particles to get new materials. The state-of-the-art allowedus to select and implement an original strategy whose driving force is the solvent-induced assembly, i.e. based onthe stickiness of polystyrene (PS) macromolecules when they are subjected to a mixture of good and bad solvents.We investigated the assembly into clusters, chains or monolayers of one-patch, two-patch or three-patch silicananoparticles (NPs), respectively, the patches being PS macromolecules grafted at specific positions on theirsurface. One-patch silica NPs with controllable patch-to-particle size ratio were successfully synthesised throughphase separation and site-specific silica coating. Their assembly was performed in DMF/ethanol binary mixtures.The effect of the solvent quality, centrifugation force, particle concentration, incubation time and patch-to-size ratiowas investigated and discussed. The strategy was spread to obtain gold-coated clusters. The two-patch silica NPswere prepared through a seed-growth emulsion polymerisation of styrene and the patch-to-particle size ratio wasadjusted through the extent of the silica core regrowth. The chaining of the NPs was efficiently achieved in theTHF/NaCl aqueous solution mixtures by varying the NaCl concentration, solvent quality, incubation time, NPsconcentration and patch-to-particle size ratio. We showed that the kinetics of the chaining process is characteristicof a reaction-controlled step-growth polymerisation. Strategies to mimic homopolymers, random copolymers, blockcopolymers and branched polymers were implemented by using one-patch NPs, two-patch NPs with different sizes/surface chemical functions and/or three-patch NPs as building units. The three-patch silica NPs were obtainedthrough the same synthetic pathway than two-patch ones. For assembling them in honeycomb-like 2-D structures,we used the Langmuir technique.and we studied the influence of different experimental parameters. THF vapourannealing was implemented to reinforce mechanically the assembly but without significative effect on the packingdensity.
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Weiya Li. Solvent-induced assembly of patchy silica nanoparticles : towards new colloidal molecules. Material chemistry. Université de Bordeaux, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019BORD0127⟩. ⟨tel-03298895⟩

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