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Controlling the Degree of Polymerization, Bond Lengths, and Bond Angles of Plasmonic Polymers

Lukach, Ariella, Liu, Kun, Therien-Aubin, Heloise, Kumacheva, Eugenia
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012 v.134 no.45 pp. 18853-18859
engineering, gold, ligands, nanoparticles, nanorods, optical properties, polymerization, polymers
Plasmonic polymers present an interesting concept that builds on the analogy between molecular polymers and linear chains of strongly interacting metal nanoparticles. Ensemble-averaged optical properties of plasmonic polymers are strongly influenced by their structure. In the present work, we formed plasmonic polymers by using solution-based assembly of gold nanorods (NRs) end-tethered with photoactive macromolecular tethers. By using postassembly ligand photo-cross-linking, we established a method to arrest NR polymer growth after a particular self-assembly time, and in this manner, using kinetics of step-growth polymerization, we achieved control over the average degree of polymerization of plasmonic polymers. Photo-cross-linking of ligands also enabled control over the internanorod distance and resulted in the increased rigidity of NR chains. These results, along with a higher structural integrity of NR chains, can be utilized in plasmonic nanostructure engineering and facilitate advanced applications of plasmonic polymers in sensing and optoelectronics.