Surface-initiated controlled radical polymerizations from silica nanoparticles, gold nanocrystals, and bionanoparticles
In recent years, core/shell nanohybrids containing a nanoparticle core and a distinct surrounding shell of polymer brushes have received extensive attention in nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, catalysis, nanopatterning, drug delivery, biosensing, and many others. From the large variety of existing polymerization methods on the one hand and strategies for grafting onto nanoparticle surfaces on the other hand, the combination of grafting-from with controlled radical polymerization (CRP) techniques has turned out to be the best suited for synthesizing these well-defined core/shell nanohybrids and is known as surface-initiated CRP. Most common among these are surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), surface-initiated reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization, and surface-initiated nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP). This review highlights the state of the art of growing polymers from nanoparticles using surface-initiated CRP techniques. We focus on mechanistic aspects, synthetic procedures, and the formation of complex architectures as well as novel properties. From the vast number of examples of nanoparticle/polymer hybrids formed by surface-initiated CRP techniques, we present nanohybrid formation from the particularly important and most studied silica nanoparticles, gold nanocrystals, and proteins which can be regarded as bionanoparticles.