Organic-skinned inorganic nanoparticles: surface-confined polymerization of 6-(3-thienyl)hexanoic acid bound to nanocrystalline TiO2
i-School of Green Energy, UNIST, Ulsan 689-798, South Korea
Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:521 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-521Published: 2 September 2011
There are many practical difficulties in direct adsorption of polymers onto nanocrystalline inorganic oxide surface such as Al2O3 and TiO2 mainly due to the insolubility of polymers in solvents or polymer agglomeration during adsorption process. As an alternative approach to the direct polymer adsorption, we propose surface-bound polymerization of pre-adsorbed monomers. 6-(3-Thienyl)hexanoic acid (THA) was used as a monomer for poly[3-(5-carboxypentyl)thiophene-2,5-diyl] (PTHA). PTHA-coated nanocrystalline TiO2/FTO glass electrodes were prepared by immersing THA-adsorbed electrodes in FeCl3 oxidant solution. Characterization by ultraviolet/visible/infrared spectroscopy and thermal analysis showed that the monolayer of regiorandom-structured PTHA was successfully formed from intermolecular bonding between neighbored THA surface-bound to TiO2. The anchoring functional groups (-COOH) of the surface-crawling PTHA were completely utilized for strong bonding to the surface of TiO2.