Wagner, C.C.; Shehata, S.; Henzler, K.; Yuan, J.; Wittemann, A.: Towards nanoscale composite particles of dual complexity. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 355 (2011), p. 115-123

The fabrication of heteroaggregates comprising inorganic and organic nanoparticles of different sizes is reported. Control over the assembly of nanoscale functional building units is of great significance to many practical applications. Joining together different spherical nanoparticles in a defined manner allows con- trol over the shape of the composites. If two types of constituents are chosen that differ in size, the sur- faces of the composites exhibit two specific radii of curvature, yielding aggregates of dual surface roughness. Moreover, if the constituents consist of different materials, the resulting heteroaggregates feature both compositional and interfacial anisotropy, offering unprecedented perspectives for custom- tailored colloids. This study describes a two-step approach towards such designer particles. At first, amine-modified polystyrene particles with 154 nm diameter were assembled into clusters of well- defined configurations. Onto these, oppositely charged inorganic particles with diameters of only a few nanometres were deposited by direct uptake from solution, resulting in numerous functional entities all over the surface of the polymer clusters. Despite the fact that oppositely charged constituents are brought together, charge reversal by uptake of nanoparticles allows for stable suspensions of heterocom- posites. Hence, the possibility to assemble particles into nanoscale heterocomposites with full control over shape, composition, and surface roughness is demonstrated.