Reconfigurable Polymer Shells on Shape-Anisotropic Gold Nanoparticle Cores

Juyeong Kim, Xiaohui Song, Ahyoung Kim, Binbin Luo, John W. Smith, Zihao Ou, Zixuan Wu, Qian Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reconfigurable hybrid nanoparticles made by decorating flexible polymer shells on rigid inorganic nanoparticle cores can provide a unique means to build stimuli-responsive functional materials. The polymer shell reconfiguration has been expected to depend on the local core shape details, but limited systematic investigations have been undertaken. Here, two literature methods are adapted to coat either thiol-terminated polystyrene (PS) or polystyrene-poly(acrylic acid) (PS-b-PAA) shells onto a series of anisotropic gold nanoparticles of shapes not studied previously, including octahedron, concave cube, and bipyramid. These core shapes are complex, rendering shell contours with nanoscale details (e.g., local surface curvature, shell thickness) that are imaged and analyzed quantitatively using the authors' customized analysis codes. It is found that the hybrid nanoparticles based on the chosen core shapes, when coated with the above two polymer shells, exhibit distinct shell segregations upon a variation in solvent polarity or temperature. It is demonstrated for the PS-b-PAA-coated hybrid nanoparticles, the shell segregation is maintained even after a further decoration of the shell periphery with gold seeds; these seeds can potentially facilitate subsequent deposition of other nanostructures to enrich structural and functional diversity. These synthesis, imaging, and analysis methods for the hybrid nanoparticles of anisotropically shaped cores can potentially aid in their predictive design for materials reconfigurable from the bottom up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1800101
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • TEM image analysis
  • anisotropic nanoparticles
  • patchy colloids
  • polymer shell functionalization
  • reconfigurable nanoparticles
  • surface segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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