Lu, Y.; Ballauff, M.; Wittemann, A.: Spherical Polymer Brushes. In: Matyjaszewski, K. [u.a.] [Eds.] : Polymer Science : a comprehensive reference ; Vol. 6: Macromolecular architectures and soft nano-objects. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2012. - ISBN 9780444593832, p. 265 - 292
This chapter is devoted to spherical polymer brush particles bearing a densely packed layer of polymer chains on their surface, which exhibit well-defined core-shell morphologies. The survey on recent experimental and theoretical developments has demonstrated that spherical polymer brushes present a number of fundamental questions of high interest. In this review we have discussed, by drawing on selected examples of recent research, how spherical polymer brushes are paving the way from synthesis of designed system, characterization to advanced applications. Special attention has been paid to future perspectives of polymer brushes grafted to spherical supports that go beyond simple stabilization of particles through a surrounding brush layer. Possible applications, such as for the preparation of catalytically active metal nanoparticles and the immobilization of proteins, have been discussed in full detail. All results herein demonstrate that such particles may serve as carriers for catalytically active nanostructures, namely for metal nanoparticles and enzymes. In addition, applications in other fields including “smart” stabilizers for emulsions and as novel retention aids in papermaking industry have been discussed as well. Here interesting developments in nanotechnology are to be expected which make use of the strong responsiveness of the surface layer under external triggers.