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Plasmonic Vesicles of Amphiphilic Gold Nanocrystals: Self-Assembly and External-Stimuli-Triggered Destruction

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journal contribution
posted on 20.07.2011, 00:00 by Jibin Song, Lin Cheng, Aiping Liu, Jun Yin, Min Kuang, Hongwei Duan
We have developed a new class of plasmonic vesicular nanostructures assembled from amphiphilic gold nanocrystals with mixed polymer brush coatings. One major finding is that the integration of gold nanocrystals (nanoparticles and nanorods) with two types of chemically distinct polymer grafts, which are analogous to block copolymers as a whole, creates a new type of hybrid building block inheriting the amphiphilicity-driven self-assembly of block copolymers to form vesicular structures and the plasmonic properties of the nanocrystals. In contrast to other vesicular structures, the disruption of the plasmonic vesicles can be triggered by stimulus mechanisms inherent to either the polymer or the nanocrystal. Recent advances in nanocrystal synthesis and controlled surface-initiated polymerization have opened a wealth of possibilities for expanding this concept to other types of nanocrystals and integrating different types of nanocrystals into multifunctional vesicles. The development of multifunctional vesicles containing stimuli-responsive polymers could enable their broader applications in biosensing, multimodality imaging, and theragnostic nanomedicine.