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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Uniform Concave Polystyrene-Carbon Core-Shell Nanospheres by a Swelling Induced Buckling Process

  • Author(s): Liu, D
  • Peng, X
  • Wu, B
  • Zheng, X
  • Chuong, TT
  • Li, J
  • Sun, S
  • Stucky, GD
  • et al.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

© 2015 American Chemical Society. We have developed a facile procedure that can create asymmetrical building blocks by uniformly deforming nanospheres into C∞ν symmetry at low cost and high quality. Concave polystyrene@carbon (PS@C) core-shell nanospheres were produced by a very simple microwave-assisted alcohol thermal treatment of spherical PS@C nanoparticles. The dimensions and ratio of the concave part can be precisely controlled by temperature and solvents. The concavity is created by varying the alcohol-thermal treatment to tune the swelling properties that lead to the mechanical deformation of the PS@C core-shell structure. The driving force is attributed to the significant volume increase that occurs upon polystyrene core swelling with the incorporation of solvent. We propose a mechanism adapted from published models for the depression of soft capsules. An extrapolation from this model predicts that the rigid shell is used to generate a cavity in the unbuckled shell, which is experimentally confirmed. This swelling and deformation route is flexible and should be applicable to other polymeric nanoparticles to produce asymmetrical nanoparticles.

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