Using Aggregation to Chaperon Nanoparticles Across Fluid Interfaces

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Yulong Fan
  • Yannis Yan Lum Ho
  • Yufeng Wang
  • Peiyang Gu
  • Thomas P. Russell


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202308853
Journal / PublicationAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Online published28 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


Nanoparticles (NPs) transfer is usually induced by adding ligands to modify NP surfaces, but aggregation of NPs oftentimes hampers the transfer. Here, we show that aggregation during NP phase transfer does not necessarily result in transfer failure. Using a model system comprising gold NPs and amphiphilic polymers, we demonstrate an unusual mechanism by which NPs can undergo phase transfer from the aqueous phase to the organic phase via a single-aggregation-single pathway. Our discovery challenges the conventional idea that aggregation inhibits NP transfer and provides an unexpected pathway for transferring larger-sized NPs (>20 nm). The charged amphiphilic polymers effectively act as chaperons for the NP transfer and offer a unique way to manipulate the dispersion and distribution of NPs in two immiscible liquids. Moreover, by intentionally jamming the NP-polymer assembly at the liquid/liquid interface, the transfer process can be inhibited. © 2023 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH.

Research Area(s)

  • Aggregation, Assembly, Gold Nanoparticles, Interfaces, Transfer