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Issue 15, 2015
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Sulfate-based anionic diblock copolymer nanoparticles for efficient occlusion within zinc oxide

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Abstract

Occlusion of copolymer particles within inorganic crystalline hosts not only provides a model for understanding the crystallisation process, but also may offer a direct route for the preparation of novel nanocomposite materials with emergent properties. In the present paper, a series of new well-defined anionic diblock copolymer nanoparticles are synthesised by polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA) via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) aqueous emulsion polymerisation and then evaluated as crystal habit modifiers for the in situ formation of ZnO in aqueous solution. Systematic studies indicate that both the chemical nature (i.e. whether sulfate-based or carboxylate-based) and the mean degree of polymerisation (DP) of the anionic stabiliser block play vital roles in determining the crystal morphology. In particular, sulfate-functionalised nanoparticles are efficiently incorporated within the ZnO crystals whereas carboxylate-functionalised nanoparticles are excluded, thus anionic character is a necessary but not sufficient condition for successful occlusion. Moreover, the extent of nanoparticle occlusion within the ZnO phase can be as high as 23% by mass depending on the sulfate-based nanoparticle concentration. The optical properties, chemical composition and crystal structure of the resulting nanocomposite crystals are evaluated and an occlusion mechanism is proposed based on the observed evolution of the ZnO morphology in the presence of sulfate-based anionic nanoparticles. Finally, controlled deposition of a 5 nm gold sol onto porous ZnO particles (produced after calcination of the organic nanoparticles) significantly enhances the rate of photocatalytic decomposition of a model rhodamine B dye on exposure to a relatively weak UV source.

Graphical abstract: Sulfate-based anionic diblock copolymer nanoparticles for efficient occlusion within zinc oxide

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jan 2015, accepted on 10 Mar 2015 and first published on 12 Mar 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5NR00535C
Citation: Nanoscale, 2015,7, 6691-6702
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Sulfate-based anionic diblock copolymer nanoparticles for efficient occlusion within zinc oxide

    Y. Ning, L. A. Fielding, T. S. Andrews, D. J. Growney and S. P. Armes, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 6691
    DOI: 10.1039/C5NR00535C

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