One-pot generation of gold-polymer hybrid nanoparticles using a miniemulsion reactor system

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We investigated one-pot synthesis of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and AuNPs-polymer hybrid nanoparticles in a water-in-oil (W/O) miniemulsion. Water nanodroplets were dispersed as a reactor in cyclohexane using dimethicone as a surfactant. First, we intended to generate AuNPs in water nanodroplets, which contained HAuCl4 with a mixture of 1-vinylpyrrolidone (VP) and N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide (MBAAm). Several AuNPs with the size of approximately 10–20 nm were generated in each nanodroplet via reduction of AuCl4- by dimethicone. On the other hand, AuNPs was scarcely generated in water nanodroplets containing HAuCl4 with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA). Next, we carried out polymerization in water nanodroplets to encapsulate AuNPs into polymer nanoparticles. Several AuNPs were encapsulated within polymer particles by copolymerization of VP and MBAAm with an oil-soluble initiator (V-601), and some AuNPs were present in the oil phase. The encapsulation efficiency of AuNPs was 34%. The encapsulation efficiency of AuNPs was dramatically increased by increasing the concentration of the initiator. The same result was obtained by increasing the concentration of the crosslinker due to rapid gelation of nanodroplets. On the other hand, monodisperse particles could be obtained by polymerization of HEMA using a water-soluble initiator (V-65). After polymerization for 5 d at 65ºC, the color of the suspension changed from opaque blue to blue purple and the encapsulation efficiency of AuNPs (5–20 nm) increased to 99 wt%. The average number of AuNPs encapsulated in a PHEMA nanoparticle increased from 1.5 to 4.6 particle. Furthermore, the size of AuNPs could be tuned by increasing the HAuCl4 concentration, and the corresponding color of the suspensions such as blue, purple, and red could be observed. The number and location of AuNPs in polymer nanoparticles could also be tuned by additives such as L-histidine and polyvinylpyrrolidone. By drop-casting the obtained hybrid nanoparticles, we could obtain gold-polymer hybrid films where AuNPs were evenly distributed within a film. The films exhibited different colors corresponding to their LSPR of AuNPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131319
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun 5


  • Gold nanoparticles
  • LSPR
  • Miniemulsion
  • Polymer nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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