A design strategy for the hierarchical fabrication of colloidal hybrid mesostructures

Nat Commun. 2014 May 27;5:3882. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4882.


Advances in nanotechnology depend upon expanding the ability to create new and complex materials with well-defined multidimensional mesoscale structures. The creation of hybrid hierarchical structures by combining colloidal organic and inorganic building blocks remains a challenge due to the difficulty in preparing organic structural units of precise size and shape. Here we describe a design strategy to generate controlled hierarchical organic-inorganic hybrid architectures by multistep bottom-up self-assembly. Starting with a suspension of large inorganic nanoparticles, we anchor uniform block copolymer crystallites onto the nanoparticle surface. These colloidally stable multi-component particles can initiate the living growth of uniform cylindrical micelles from their surface, leading to three-dimensional architectures. Structures of greater complexity can be obtained by extending the micelles via addition of a second core-crystalline block copolymer. This controlled growth of polymer micelles from the surface of inorganic particles opens the door to the construction of previously inaccessible colloidal organic-inorganic hybrid structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't