A Modular Polymer for Nanoparticle Supports

17 August 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Nanoparticles are key to a range of applications, due to the properties that emerge as a result of their small size. However, their size also presents challenges to their processing and use, especially in relation to their immobilization on solid supports without losing their favourable functionalities. Here, we present a multifunctional polymer-bridge-based approach to attach a range of pre-synthesised nanoparticles onto microparticle supports. We demonstrate the attachment of mixtures of different types of metal-oxide nanoparticles, as well as metal-oxide nanoparticles modified with standard wet chemistry approaches. We then show that our method can also create composite films of metal and metal-oxide nanoparticles by exploiting different chemistries simultaneously. We finally apply our approach to the synthesis of designer microswimmers with decoupled mechanisms of steering (magnetic) and propulsion (light) via asymmetric nanoparticle binding, aka Toposelective Nanoparticle Attachment. We envision that the ability to freely mix available nanoparticles to produce composite films will help bridge the fields of catalysis, nanochemistry, and active matter towards new materials and applications.


Active Matter
Polymer Bridge
Machine Learning
Pickering Emulsion


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