Small-molecule-directed nanoparticle assembly towards stimuli-responsive nanocomposites

Yue Zhao, Kari Thorkelsson, Alexander J. Mastroianni, Thomas Schilling, Joseph M. Luther, Benjamin J. Rancatore, Kazuyuki Matsunaga, Hiroshi Jinnai, Yue Wu, Daniel Poulsen, Jean M.J. Fréchet, A. Paul Alivisatos, Ting Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

436 Scopus citations


Precise control of the spatial organization of nanoscopic building blocks, such as nanoparticles, over multiple length scales is a bottleneck in the bottom-up generation of technologically important materials. Only a few approaches have been shown to achieve nanoparticle assemblies without surface modification. We demonstrate a simple yet versatile approach to produce stimuli-responsive hierarchical assemblies of readily available nanoparticles by combining small molecules and block copolymers. Organization of nanoparticles into one-, two-and three-dimensional arrays with controlled inter-particle separation and ordering is achieved without chemical modification of either the nanoparticles or block copolymers. Nanocomposites responsive to heat and light are demonstrated, where the spatial distribution of the nanoparticles can be varied by exposure to heat or light or changing the local environment. The approach described is applicable to a wide range of nanoparticles and compatible with existing fabrication processes, thereby enabling a non-disruptive approach for the generation of functional devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-985
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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