Dendrimer-encapsulated nanoparticle-core micelles as a modular strategy for particle-in-a-box-in-a-box nanostructures†
The hierarchically controlled synthesis and characterization of self-assembling macromolecules and particles are key to explore and exploit new nanomaterials. Here we present a versatile strategy for constructing particle-in-a-box-in-a-box systems by assembling dendrimer-encapsulated gold nanoparticles (DENs) into dendrimicelles. This is realized by combining positively charged PAMAM dendrimers with a negative-neutral block copolymer. The number of particles per dendrimicelle can be controlled by mixing DENs with empty PAMAM dendrimers. The dendrimicelles are stable in solution for months and provide improved resistance for the nanoparticles against degradation. The dendrimicelle strategy provides a flexible platform with a plethora of options for variation in the type of nanoparticles, dendrimers and block copolymers used, and hence is tunable for applications ranging from nanomedicine to catalysis.