Hybrid inorganic-organic composite nanoparticles from crosslinkable polyfluorenes

Jonathan M. Behrendt, Andrew B. Foster, Mark C. McCairn, Helen Willcock, Rachel K. O'Reilly, Michael L. Turner

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    Polyfluorenes with pendant alkoxysilyl groups have been used to prepare inorganic-organic composite nanoparticles (diameter = 80-220 nm) in which the conjugated polymer is dispersed within a silica matrix. Preparation of these nanoparticles is achieved by simultaneous nanoprecipitation of the conjugated polymer and hydrolysis/crosslinking of the alkoxysilyl groups under basic conditions. The composition of the nanocomposites is controlled by addition of an alkoxysilane monomer, tetramethylorthosilicate. The hybrid nanoparticles form highly stable dispersions in water and buffer (pH 9.2). The size of the nanoparticles can be tuned by varying the amount of the alkoxysilane monomer added during the nanoprecipitation process. Increasing the relative amount of alkoxysilane monomer also increases the proportion of polyfluorene chains that adopt the higher energy β-phase conformation within the resultant nanoparticles. Nanoparticles with the highest silica content were found to have increased photoluminescence quantum yields. This work provides a controllable method for optimisation of the photophysical properties of light-emitting conjugated polymer nanoparticles via a simple aqueous processing technique. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2013.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3297-3304
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
    Issue number20
    Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2013


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