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

429 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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank T. P. Russell for the valuable discussions. SAXS experiments were carried out at beamline 7.3.3 at the Advanced Light Source. CoFe2O4 nanoparticle was provided by the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This was supported by the Army Research Office STIR program under award No. W911NF-07-1-0653; NSF DMR-0805301; by the DuPont Young Professor Grant and by the 3 M Nontenured Faculty Grant. This work was also supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 through the ‘Organic-inorganic Nanocomposites’ programme at LBNL. H.J. acknowledges support from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture through Grants-in-Aid No. 19031016, 21015017, 21106512 and 21241030.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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