Stable hairy lanthanum hydroxide nanoparticles were synthesized in water by performing hydrolysis and condensation reactions of lanthanum cations in the presence of double hydrophilic polyacrylic acid-b-polyacrylamide block copolymers (PAA-b-PAM). In the first step, the addition of asymmetric PAA-b-PAM copolymers (Mw,PAA < Mw,PAM) to lanthanum salt solutions, both at pH = 5.5, induces the formation of monodispersed micellar aggregates, which are predominantly isotropic. The core of the hybrid aggregates is constituted of a lanthanum polyacrylate complex whose formation is due to bidentate coordination bonding between La3+ and acrylate groups, as shown by ATR-FTIR experiments and pH measurements. The size of the micellar aggregates depends on the molecular weight of the copolymer but is independent of the copolymer to metal ratio in solution. In the second step, the hydrolysis of lanthanum ions is induced by addition of a strong base such as sodium hydroxide. Either flocculated suspensions or stable anisotropic or spherical nanoparticles of lanthanum hydrolysis products were obtained depending on the metal complexation ratio [acrylate]/[La]. The variation of that parameter also enables the control of the size of the core-corona nanoparticles obtained by lanthanum hydroxylation. The asymmetry degree of the copolymer was shown to influence both the size and the shape of the particles. Elongated particles with a high aspect ratio, up to 10, were obtained with very asymmetric copolymers (Mw,PAM/Mw,PAA
≥ 10) while shorter rice grain-like particles were obtained with a less asymmetric copolymer. The asymmetry degree also influences the value of the critical metal complexation degree required to obtain stable colloidal suspensions of polymer-stabilized lanthanum hydroxide.
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