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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16729

Title: Developing New Strategies for the Preparation of Micro- and Nano-structured Polymer Materials
Authors: Nie, Zhihong
Advisor: Kumacheva, Eugenia
Department: Chemistry
Keywords: microfluidics, microreactors, polymer particles, core-shell, microcapsules, Janus particles, three-phasic particles, self-assembly, gold nanorods, block copolymers, plasmonic band
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2009
Abstract: This thesis described the development of new strategies for the preparation of micro- and nano-structured polymer materials. In particular, this thesis focused on: i) the synthesis of polymer particles in microreactors, and ii) the self-assembly of inorganic nanorods. First, this thesis presented the synthesis of polymer particles and capsules with pre-determined sizes and narrow size distributions (CV<2%) in continuous microfluidic reactors. The method includes (i) the emulsification of monomers in a microfluidic flow-focusing device and (ii) in-situ solidification of droplets via photopolymerization. This microfluidic synthesis provides a novel strategy for the control over the shapes, compositions, and morphologies of polymer particles. In particular, we demonstrated the control over particle shapes by producing polymer ellipsoids, disks, rods, hemispheres, plates, and bowls. We produced polymer particles loaded with dyes, liquid crystals, quantum dots, and magnetic nanoparticles. We generated core-shell particles, microcapsules, Janus and three-phasic polymer particles. Control over the number of cores per droplet was achieved by manipulating the flow rates of liquids in the microchannels. We further investigated the hydrodynamic mechanism underlying the emulsification of droplets, which helps in guiding scientists and engineers to utilize this technique. Second, we described the self-assembly of inorganic nanorods by using a striking analogy between amphiphilic ABA triblock copolymers and the hydrophilic nanorods tethered with hydrophobic polystyrene chains at both ends. We organized metal nanorods in structures with various geometries such as nanorings, nanochains, bundles, bundled nanochains, and nanospheres by tuning solely the quality of solvents. The self-assembly was tunable and reversible. This approach paved the way for the organization of anisotropic nanoparticles by using the strategies that are well-established for the self-assembly of block copolymers. We further described a systematic study of the self-assembly of polymer-tethered gold nanorods as a function of solvent composition in the system and the molecular weight of the polystyrene blocks. We found that the structure of the polymer pom-poms played an important role on the organization of polymer-tethered gold NRs. The 'supramolecular' assembly was governed by the competition between the end-to-end and side-by-side association of NRs and resulted in the controlled variation of the plasmonic properties of NRs, reflected in a 3-D plasmonic graph.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16729
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Chemistry - Doctoral theses

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