Self-Assembly of Nanoparticles onto the Surfaces of Polystyrene Spheres with a Tunable Composition and Loading

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"Self-Assembly of Nanoparticles onto the Surfaces of Polystyrene Spheres with a Tunable Composition and Loading," Pilapil, B.K.; Wang, M.C.P.; Paul, M.T.Y.; Nazemi, A.; Gates, B. D., Nanotechnology, 2015, 26, 055601. DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/26/5/055601.

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Functional colloidal materials were prepared by design through the self-assembly of nanoparticles (NPs) on the surfaces of polystyrene (PS) spheres with control over NP surface coverage, NP-to-NP spacing, and NP composition. The ability to control and fine tune the coating was extended to the first demonstration of the co-assembly of NPs of dissimilar composition onto the same PS sphere, forming a multi-component coating. A broad range of NP decorated PS (PS@NPs) spheres were prepared with uniform coatings attributed to electrostatic and hydrogen bonding interactions between stabilizing groups on the NPs and the functionalized surfaces of the PS spheres. This versatile two-step method provides more fine control than methods previously demonstrated in the literature. These decorated PS spheres are of interest for a number of applications, such as catalytic reactions where the PS spheres provide a support for the dispersion, stabilization, and recovery of NP catalysts. The catalytic properties of these PS@NPs spheres were assessed by studying the catalytic degradation of azo dyes, an environmental contaminant detrimental to eye health. The PS@NPs spheres were used in multiple, sequential catalytic reactions while largely retaining the NP coating.

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