Poly(methacrylatic acid) brush silica nanoparticles: Synthesis and application in analytical science.
Iacono, Marcello (2015) Poly(methacrylatic acid) brush silica nanoparticles: Synthesis and application in analytical science. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Brush polymeric nano-particles are systems of significant interest in a number of transversal fields ranging from fundamental science research up to the development of commercially oriented bench-top-made pilot prototypes. The reason of such attention is easily explained, i.e. the ability to transfer the “smartness” of polymeric chains onto a nano-surface is the open door for combining both the features of the nano-world and of the polymer world. Moreover, often the resulting properties are not just the sum of the component systems (the polymeric brush and the nano-surface). Indeed, the newly formed system can show new and un-precedented features not present in the single separate components.
In this work the formation of brush poly(acrylic acid) nano-particles and their use in a proof of concept system is analyzed. In particular, for the first time, a coherent unified summary of synthesis strategies, tools and approaches to monitor and remediate silica nano-particles based colloidal batches is presented (Chapter 2).
Using these nano-particles, in Chapter 3 the process of formation of the polymeric brush from the surface decoration with a novel silane coupling agent is detailed. The synthesis of this molecule bearing both the silanizable moiety (to be chemically linked on the silica nano-surface) and the radicalic polymerization initiator is originally performed using a click chemistry approach. The advantage of this choice was of double nature: on one hand, a reasonable amount of initiator was available to do a number of surface decoration tests and, in doing so, the definition of a robust protocol had been possible. Detailed analysis of brush thickness increase with the reaction time during the atom transfer radical polymerization completes the chapter.
The last two chapters are devoted to the applicative aspects of the just formed poly (methacrylic acid) silica nano-particles. Specifically, in Chapter 4, an easy and robust protocol to manufacture a cheap solid phase extraction device based on porous poly (EDMA-co-GMA) monoliths is presented. The elements of novelty in this chapter are the carefully monitored process of manufacture. This aspect is of particular interest as the monitoring of such kind of manufacture is not each time easily possible due the geometry of the devices. In the Chapter 5, the problem of the porous poly (EDMA-co-GMA) monoliths surface decoration is defined and discussed. In this context, the brush enhancement factor is defined and treated. The final part of the chapter demonstrates, for the first time, the positive impact on the solid phase extraction performances of the poly (acrylic acid) nano-brushed monolithic surfaces.
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