Controlling the Assembly of Nanoparticle Mixtures With Two Orthogonal Polymer Complexation Reactions
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Self-assembly from mixed dispersions of three sizes of monodisperse polystyrene nanoparticles, large (L), medium (M), and small (S), was controlled by coating each particle type with either a monofunctional or bifunctional polymer capable of participating in specific complexation reactions. The complexation reactions were (1) complexation between phenolic polymers and polyethylene glycol (PEG) containing polymers and (2) condensation of phenylboronic acid containing polymers with polyols. These complexation reactions function independently and can be "turned off" independently; phenylboronic acid complexation was reversed by lowering the pH, whereas the interactions of phenolic copolymers with PEG copolymers could be reversed by adding excess PEG homopolymer. The specificity and reversibility of the interactions was demonstrated by the formation of simple binary aggregates from mixtures. The bifunctional copolymers were poly(vinyl phenol-co-diallyldimethyl ammonium chloride), Ph-DADMAC, and poly(3-acrylamide phenylboronic acid-co-PEG methacrylate), PBA-PEG. The monofunctional polymer was polyvinylalcohol, PVA. Ph-DADMAC forms complexes with PBA-PEG (H-bonding) and with anionic surfaces or polymers (electrostatic/polyelectrolyte complexation). PBA-PEG complexes with Ph-DADMAC (H-bonding) and with PVA (boronate ester formation). PVA does not interact with Ph-DADMAC; therefore, PVA coated particles do not deposit onto Ph-DADMAC coated particles.
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