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March 16th, 2009

Bristling nano balls

Abstract:
A mathematical analysis of inorganic nanoparticles explains why they form complex structures with a layer of hydrophilic polymer chains.

Stephan Förster, Marija Nikolic, Charlotta Olsson, Andrea Salcher, Andreas Kornowski, Andreas Frömsdorf, and Horst Weller, of the University Hamburg, and Anja Rank and Rolf Schubert of the University of Freiburg, Germany, and their colleagues describe how amphiphilic molecules, ones with a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic end, can spontaneously form capsules or bilayers in aqueous solution. The phenomenon is exploited in the action of soaps and detergents which enclose particles or oil droplets within tiny capsules of surfactant, rendering them water soluble.

Cell membranes also follow the same organising principles in which amphiphilic lipids molecules form a bilayer by aggregating so that their hydrophobic tails are sandwiched with their hydrophilic heads protruding into the aqueous environment surrounding the cell.

The researchers have now made hybrid particles composed of a water-insoluble inorganic nanoparticle of cadmium selenide and cadmium sulfide at the core surrounded by a bristle-like layer of hydrophilic polyethylene oxide polymer chains. They attach the nanoparticles to the polymer through amino groups.

Source:
spectroscopynow.com

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