Nanoparticle Assembly: Expanding the Realm of the Possible

Nanoparticle Assembly: Expanding the Realm of the Possible

emerging technologies, Materials Science
JACS Spotlights Feb. 22, 2022 Nanoparticles assemble themselves into a multitude of compositions and structures, and the range of possible applications appears almost limitless. Robert Macfarlane and co-workers give an overview of the history and current state of nanoparticle assembly research, focusing on assembly approaches and emergent properties of the resulting materials and summarizing future directions and challenges (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c12335). The simplest assembly process, uncontrolled aggregation of nanoparticles into disordered clusters or films, is used on an industrial scale to produce coatings. Supramolecular assembly techniques (in various stages of development) direct nanoparticles to form ordered patterns, self-healing nanocomposites, vesicles, micelles, or thin films. Light, magnetic fields, or biomolecular templates can direct nanoparticles to produce even more complex structures. The resulting materials interact with light, electrons, and magnetic fields in ways…
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New Polymers Survive a Loss of Protection

New Polymers Survive a Loss of Protection

Materials Science, processes
JACS Spotlights, Feb. 9, 2022 Sulfur-containing organic molecules called thiols and thiocatechols are used in a variety of reactions involving the formation of disulfide bonds, coupling to double and triple bonds, and attachments to metal surfaces. In contrast, their polymer counterparts, thiophenol-pendant and dithiocatechol-pendant polymers, tend to oxidize and form disulfide-cross-linked networks. This renders them insoluble in organic solvents, which in turn limits their practical application. Catechol-pendant polymers, their oxygen-containing counterparts, oxidize much slower, and they readily form coatings, adhesives, and self-healing materials. Jincai Li, Joseph Richardson, and Hirotaka Ejima recently reported the use of a protection–deprotection strategy that enabled them to synthesize the thiophenol-pendant polymer poly(4-thiostyrene), as well as the first synthesis of a dithiocatechol-pendant polymer─poly(3,4-dithiostyrene)─and the copolymer poly(3,4-dithiostyrene-co-styrene) (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c11479). Unlike former efforts at protection–deprotection synthesis, the deprotection…
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