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Issue 20, 2013
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Control over the electrostatic self-assembly of nanoparticle semiflexible biopolyelectrolyte complexes

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Abstract

The electrostatic complexation between model negatively charged silica nanoparticles (NPs) with radius R ∼ 10 nm and chitosan, a natural polyelectrolyte bearing positive charges with a semi-rigid backbone of a persistence length of Lp ∼ 9 nm, was studied by a combination of SANS, SAXS, light scattering, and cryo-TEM. In this system, corresponding to Lp/R ∼ 1, we observe the formation of (i) randomly branched complexes in the presence of an excess of chitosan chains and (ii) well-defined single-strand nanorods in the presence of an excess of nanoparticles. We also observe no formation of nanorods for NPs with poly-L-lysine, a flexible polyelectrolyte, corresponding to Lp/R ∼ 0.1, suggesting a key role played by this ratio Lp/R. In the intermediate range of nanoparticle concentrations, we observe an associative phase separation (complex coacervation) leading to more compact complexes in both supernatant and coacervate phases. This method might open the door to a greater degree of control of nanoparticle self-assembly into larger nanostructures, through molecular structural parameters like Lp/R, combined with the polyelectrolyte/nanoparticle ratio.

Graphical abstract: Control over the electrostatic self-assembly of nanoparticle semiflexible biopolyelectrolyte complexes

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Sep 2012, accepted on 18 Mar 2013 and first published on 10 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM27138B
Soft Matter, 2013,9, 5004-5015

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    Control over the electrostatic self-assembly of nanoparticle semiflexible biopolyelectrolyte complexes

    L. Shi, F. Carn, F. Boué, G. Mosser and E. Buhler, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 5004
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM27138B

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