Published online as early access today, a brand new communication has been published in Macromolecular Rapid Communications, by Dr Swift and collaborator Dr Hickey. This article shows a first examination of the interaction between gold nanoparticles and linear PNIPAM polymer chains and can be read at the MRC website here.
Thermal desolvation of poly(N‐isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) in the presence of a low concentration of gold nanoparticles incorporates the nanoparticles resulting in suspended aggregates. By covalently incorporating <1% acenaphthylene into the polymerization feed this copolymer is enabled to be used as a model to study the segmental mobility of the PNIPAM backbone in response to gold nanoparticles both below and above the desolvation temperature, showing that there is a physical conformational rearrangement of the soluble polymer at ultralow nanoparticle loadings, indicating low affinity interactions with the nanoparticles. Thermal desolvation is capable of extracting >99.9% of the nanoparticles from their solutions and hence demonstrates that poly(N‐isopropylacrylamide) can act as an excellent scrubbing system to remove metallic nanomaterial pollutants from solution.