Understanding the mechanism of nanoparticle self-assembly is of critical significance for developing synthetic strategies for complex nanostructures. By encapsulating aggregates of Au nanospheres in shells of polystyrene-block- poly(acrylic acid), we prevent the dissociation and aggregation typically associated with the drying of solution samples on TEM/SEM substrates. In our study of the salt-induced aggregation of 2-naphthalenethiol-functionalized Au nanospheres in DMF, the trapping of the solution species under various experimental conditions permits new insights in the mechanism thereof. We provide evidence that the spontaneous linear aggregation in this system is a kinetically controlled process and hence the long-range charge repulsion at the "transition state" before the actual contact of the Au nanospheres is the key factor. Thus, the charge repulsion potential (i.e. the activation energy) a nanosphere must overcome before attaching to either end of a nanochain is smaller than attaching on its sides, which has been previously established. This factor alone could give rise to the selective end-on attachment and lead to the linear assembly of originally isotropic Au nanospheres. © 2010 the Owner Societies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry