Multifunctional polymer–metal nanocomposites via direct chemical reduction by conjugated polymers
Noble metal nanoparticles (MNPs) have attracted continuous attention due to their promising applications in chemistry, physics, bioscience, medicine and materials science. As an alternative to conventional solution chemistry routes, MNPs can be directly synthesized through a conjugated polymer (CP) mediated technique utilizing the redox chemistry of CPs to chemically reduce the metal ions and modulate the size, morphology, and structure of the MNPs. The as-prepared multifunctional CP–MNP nanocomposites have shown application potentials as highly sensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates, effective heterogeneous catalysts for organic synthesis and electrochemistry, and key components for electronic and sensing devices. In this tutorial review, we begin with a brief introduction to the chemical nature and redox properties of CPs that enable the spontaneous reduction of noble metal ions to form MNPs. We then focus on recent progress in control over the size, morphology and structure of MNPs during the conjugated polymer mediated syntheses of CP–MNP nanocomposites. Finally, we highlight the multifunctional CP–MNP nanocomposites toward their applications in sensing, catalysis, and electronic devices.