The encapsulation of gold nanoparticles using RAFT, ATRP and miniemulsion polymerisation techniques

Fuchs, Adrian Vaughan (2010) The encapsulation of gold nanoparticles using RAFT, ATRP and miniemulsion polymerisation techniques. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The investigation into the encapsulation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) by poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) was undertaken. This was performed by three polymerisation techniques including: grafting PMMA synthesised by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerisation to AuNPs, grafting PMMA synthesised by atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) from the surface of functionalised AuNPs and by encapsulation of AuNPs within PMMA latexes produced through photo-initiated oil-in-water (o/w) miniemulsion polymerisation. The grafting of RAFT PMMA to AuNPs was performed by the addition of the RAFT functionalised PMMA to citrate stabilised AuNPs. This was conducted with a range of PMMA of varying molecular weight distribution (MWD) as either the dithioester or thiol end-group functionalities. The RAFT PMMA polymers were characterised by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis), Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR), Fourier transform Raman (FT-Raman) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopies. The attachment of PMMA to AuNPs showed a tendency for AuNPs to associate with the PMMA structures formed, though significant aggregation occurred. Interestingly, thiol functionalised end-group PMMA showed very little aggregation of AuNPs. The spherical polymer-AuNP structures did not vary in size with variations in PMMA MWD. The PMMA-AuNP structures were characterised using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transition electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDAX) and UV-vis spectroscopy. The surface confined ATRP grafting of PMMA from initiator functionalised AuNPs was polymerised in both homogeneous and heterogeneous media. 11,11’- dithiobis[1-(2-bromo-2-methylpropionyloxy)undecane] (DSBr) was used as the surface-confined initiator and was synthesised in a three step procedure from mercaptoundecanol (MUD). All compounds were characterised by 1H NMR, FTIR-ATR and Raman spectroscopies. The grafting in homogeneous media resulted in amorphous PMMA with significant AuNP aggregation. Individually grafted AuNPs were difficult to separate and characterise, though SEM, TEM, EDAX and UV-vis spectroscopy was used. The heterogeneous polymerisation did not produce grafted AuNPs as characterised by SEM and EDAX. The encapsulation of AuNPs within PMMA latexes through the process of photoinitiated miniemulsion polymerisation was successfully achieved. Initially, photoinitiated miniemulsion polymerisation was conducted as a viable low temperature method of miniemulsion initiation. This proved successful producing a stable PMMA with good conversion efficiency and narrow particle size distribution (PSD). This is the first report of such a system. The photo-initiated technique was further optimised and AuNPs were included into the miniemulsion. AuNP encapsulation was very effective, producing reproducible AuNP encapsulated PMMA latexes. Again, this is the first reported case of this. The latexes were characterised by TEM, SEM, GPC, gravimetric analysis and dynamic light scattering (DLS).

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ID Code: 31708
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Will, Geoffrey & Waclawik, Eric
Keywords: nanotechnology, nanoscale devices, fabrication techniques
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Apr 2010 01:27
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:55

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