Project Description: Polymer-grafted nanoparticles (PGNs) are a novel class of hybrid nanomaterials, consisting of a polymer brush grafted to an inorganic core. In recent years, PGNs with magnetic cores have garnered increased interest for medical, sensing, and actuating uses due to the additional functionalities afforded by external magnetic fields. Though it has received little attention, a new wave of applications is possible when light- and temperature-responsive polymers make up the corona of magnetic PGNs.
In this project the student will work on the aqueous synthesis of light- and temperature responsive magnetic PGNs. More specifically, by using “activators regenerated by electron transfer-atom transfer radical polymerization” (ARGET-ATRP), we will be able to control the graft density and corona thickness of grafted polymer chains, allowing us to carefully tailor the resulting stimuli-responsive properties of the PGNs. Finally, this project will address the self-assembly and emergent magnetic field-, temperature-, and light-responsive properties of PGN 2D arrays.