Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.438, 235-243, 2015
Controlled heteroaggregation of two types of nanoparticles in an aqueous suspension
Composite particles combining nanoparticles of different functional materials, as well as nanoclusters of nanoparticles of controlled size, can be synthesized by the assembly of nanoparticles in an aqueous suspension. Different interactions between the nanoparticles in the suspension can be applied for their heteroaggregation and controlled by engineering the surface properties of the nanoparticles. The heteroaggregation of nanoparticles in a suspension was studied on a model system composed of superparamagnetic carboxyl-functionalized silica-coated maghemite nanoparticles (cMNPs) (24 nm in size) and larger, amino-functionalized, silica nanoparticles (aSNPs) (92 nm). The heteroaggregates formed with electrostatic attractions between the nanoparticles displaying an opposite electrical surface charge, or with chemical interactions originating from covalent bonding between the molecules at their surfaces. The suspensions were characterized with measurements of the zeta-potential and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The heteroaggregates were analyzed by transmission (TEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy. The kinetics of the heteroaggregation was followed by continuous monitoring of the changes in the average hydrodynamic size by DLS. The results show that covalent bonding is much more effective than attractive electrostatic interactions in terms of a much greater and more homogeneous coverage of the larger central aSNP by the smaller cMNPs in the outer layer. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.