Applied Surface Science, Vol.419, 188-196, 2017
Surface grafting of zwitterionic polymers onto dye doped AIE-active luminescent silica nanoparticles through surface-initiated ATRP for biological imaging applications
Aggregation-induced emission (ME) dyes have recently been intensively explored for biological imaging applications owing to their outstanding optical feature as compared with conventional organic dyes. The AIE-active luminescent silica nanoparticles (LSNPs) are expected to combine the advantages both of silica nanoparticles and AIE-active dyes. Although the AIE-active LSNPs have been prepared previously, surface modification of these AIE-active LSNPs with functional polymers has not been reported thus far. In this work, we reported a rather facile and general strategy for preparation of polymers functionalized AIE-active LSNP5 through the surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). The AIE-active LSNPs were fabricated via direct encapsulation of AIE-active dye into silica nanoparticles through a non covalent modified Stober method. The ATRP initiator was subsequently immobilized onto these AIE-active LSNPs through amidation reaction between 3-aminopropyl-triethoxy-silane and 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide. Finally, the zwitterionic 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) was selected as model monomer and grafted onto MSNs through ATRP. The characterization results suggested that LSNP5 can be successfully modified with poly(MPC) through surface-initiated ATRP. The biological evaluation results demonstrated that the final SNPs-AIE-pMPC composites possess low cytotoxicity, desirable optical properties and great potential for biological imaging. Taken together, we demonstrated that AIE-active LSNP5 can be fabricated and surface modified with functional polymers to endow novel functions and better performance for biomedical applications. More importantly, this strategy developed in this work could also be extended for fabrication of many other LSNPs polymer composites owing to the good monomer adoptability of ATRP. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.