Hydrophobic interactions modulate self-assembly of nanoparticles

ACS Nano. 2012 Dec 21;6(12):11059-65. doi: 10.1021/nn3047605. Epub 2012 Dec 5.


Hydrophobic interactions constitute one of the most important types of nonspecific interactions in biological systems, which emerge when water molecules rearrange as two hydrophobic species come close to each other. The prediction of hydrophobic interactions at the level of nanoparticles (Brownian objects) remains challenging because of uncontrolled diffusive motion of the particles. We describe here a general methodology for solvent-induced, reversible self-assembly of gold nanoparticles into 3D clusters with well-controlled sizes. A theoretical description of the process confirmed that hydrophobic interactions are the main driving force behind nanoparticle aggregation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins / chemistry
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions*
  • Micelles
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Micelles
  • Polystyrenes
  • Solvents
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • carbopol 940