Directed Assembly of Nanoparticles along Polymer Interfaces: Potential Strategies to Create Biologically-Relevant Conductive Pathways
In this study, the dewetting characteristics of blends of immiscible polymers were investigated in order to achieve the confinement of imbedded nanoparticles (NPs) to narrow domains by surface energy effects. Typical photoresist technology was used to pattern a silicon surface, which was then coated with a thin gold film before chemical vapor depositon of various alkane thiols. Polymer blend thin films were spun onto this surface followed by the addition of NPs, which were synthesized with a range of functional groups. Upon annealing, the polymer blend dewetted from the bare silicon surface, carrying with it the NPs, which were then spontaneously aligned on the interface following blend phase separation. Suitably chosen NPs will display both conductivity and biocompatibility, suggesting the possibility of biological applications requiring narrow domains.