Routes to the preparation of mixed monolayers of fluorinated and hydrogenated alkanethiolates grafted on the surface of gold nanoparticles
The use of binary blends of hydrogenated and fluorinated alkanethiolates represents an interesting approach to the construction of anisotropic hybrid organic–inorganic nanoparticles since the fluorinated and hydrogenated components are expected to self-sort on the nanoparticle surface because of their reciprocal phobicity. These mixed monolayers are therefore strongly non-ideal binary systems. The synthetic routes we explored to achieve mixed monolayer gold nanoparticles displaying hydrogenated and fluorinated ligands clearly show that the final monolayer composition is a non-linear function of the initial reaction mixture. Our data suggest that, under certain geometrical constraints, nucleation and growth of fluorinated domains could be the initial event in the formation of these mixed monolayers. The onset of domain formation depends on the structure of the fluorinated and hydrogenated species. The solubility of the mixed monolayer nanoparticles displayed a marked discontinuity as a function of the monolayer composition. When the fluorinated component content is small, the nanoparticle systems are fully soluble in chloroform, at intermediate content the nanoparticles become soluble in hexane and eventually they become soluble in fluorinated solvents only. The ranges of monolayer compositions in which the solubility transitions are observed depend on the nature of the thiols composing the monolayer.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoparticles with Morphological and Functional Anisotropy