On-demand curing of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using the photothermal effect of gold nanoparticles†
The photothermal effect of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) produces extremely localized heat that can be harnessed to drive large scale chemical reactions by simultaneously generating many individual reactions on the nanoscale. We use the photothermal effect to enhance the curing rate of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) by a factor of 4.9 × 109. Photothermal curing occurs via crosslinking reactions between vinyl and Si–H groups of the pre-polymer, and the course of the reaction was followed by monitoring the disappearance of infrared bands associated with these functional groups. Using mass spectroscopy, we verify that the major polymer m/z peaks are identical for both traditionally and photothermally cured polymers, indicating that the photothermal effect of AuNPs is an effective way in which to supply on-demand curing of PDMS.