In Situ Gold Nanoparticle Gradient Formation in a 3D Meso- and Macroporous Polymer Matrix
Journal article, 2017
Herein, the development and characterization of a 3D gradient structure of gold nanoparticles is described. The gradient of gold nanoparticles is made in situ in a macroporous nonionic block copolymer hydrogel matrix, through gold ion diffusion control. The polymer provides a matrix for diffusion of gold ions, acts as a template for controlling nanoparticle growth, and facilitates the in situ reduction of gold ions to gold nanoparticles. A clear gradient in gold nanoparticles is observed across the 3D space of the polymer matrix using scanning electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis. The particle gradient is further functionalized with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups via thiol-gold linkage to demonstrate the ability to form gradients with different chemical functionalities. Using additive manufacturing, the polymer can also be printed as a porous network with possible applications for 3D cell culturing in, e.g., biomaterials research.