Dynamic Nanocomposites, Nanoparticle Superlattices, Reconfigurable Materials, Helical Polymers, Chiral Inorganic Nanomaterials
Sub-Group 1: Dynamically Crosslinked Nanoparticle Superlattices and Nanocomposites. Metal Nanoparticles (MNPs) of various metal compositions and materials properties (i.e. plasmonic noble metal, ferromagnetic metal oxide, semiconducting/photoluminescent metal chalcogenide, etc.) will be synthesized with complementary tunable orthogonal reversible covalent (TORC) bonding reactive groups around the periphery. This controlled synthesis will utilized monodisperse, polymeric nanoreactors to facilitate nucleation and growth of nanocrystalline metal particles around the organic template. When complementary TORC-MNPs are mixed, triggered association/ dissociation can occur using specific stimuli to make dynamically crosslinked materials where the primary constituent consists of the MNPs. The association of MNPs can induce specific property manipulations such as tuned plasmonic resonances, photoluminscent quenching, or alterations of the local magnetic fields, to name a few.
Sub-Group 2: Scalable, Helical Polymer Nanostructures for Templated Synthesis of Chiral Inorganic Nanoparticles. Helical polycarbodiimides offer a versatile macromolecular scaffold for construction of functional polymeric nanoparticles with defined chirality. Using controlled, living polymerization techniques mediated by transition metal catalysts, monodisperse polycarbodiimides can be synthesized with preferential helical twists governed by either chirality of the catalyst or the monomer side chains. Combining this controlled polymerization with living radical polymerizations, we will synthesize chiral polymeric nanostructures in a scalable fashion through polymerization induced self-assembly (PISA) with helical, rigid-rod polycarbodiimides as macroinitiators. These nanostructures will be used as organic templates to template the formation of chiral inorganic nanoparticles consisting of silica or noble metals for enantiomeric separations or chiral plasmonic materials, respectively.