Dynamic Hybrid Metal Nanoparticles-Gel Materials for Novel Applications (NanoGelMat)
The observation of chirality on inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) systems is an interesting and highly important phenomenon which has recently attracted considerable attention and has become a hot topic in nanoscience research.
Many novel and interesting properties of chiral NPs have been explored and studied, showing that these systems could be of significant importance in both fundamental and application-oriented research. Very recently we have introduced a new strategy for designing and preparing chiral NPs which relies on a gelator fiber-templated approach in which the local organization is driven by the information already inscribed on the gel fibers.
Plasmonic circular dichroism was obtained by chiral 3D organisation of gold nanorods, generated by their self-assembly onto a gel fiber template with twisted morphology. Circular dichroism measurements revealed intense plasmon-induced Cotton effect, and the highest anisotropy factor for metal nanoparticles in solution reported so far. The aim of this project is to gain a molecular-level understanding of the interaction of NPs with the gelators within the gel matrix and of the origin of the chirality observed in the inorganic NPs. Furthermore, a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of the twist formation and control the chiral twists in oxalamide-based gelator assemblies will be sought.
The long-term objective of this project is to explore the correlation between the morphology of the chiral gel fibers and the SP-CD responses of NPs. More specifically, the project will focus on (1) the preparation of nanocomposite chiral materials built-up from supramolecular fibers of different morphology serving as templates for surface assembly of NPs; (2) the screening of their optical properties and on identifying the factors responsible for an efficient optical enhancement; (3) the determination of the characteristics and the origins of the chirality in NPs.