Growing molecular brushes on surfaces
© Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty
A new way to functionalize surfaces such as silicon that involves growing long molecular brushes on them has been demonstrated.
Modifying the chemical makeup of a surface can greatly enhance its usefulness for a wide range of applications from catalysis to antibacterial surfaces.
A team led by researchers at ShanghaiTech University has grown molecular brushes on silicon that are 10 to 100 times longer than other brushes grown previously.
They grew the brushes by seeding a silicon surface with small polymer balls that have long tails radiating outwards. Brushes were then grown from these seeds through self-assembly by immersing the surface in polymer solutions. Finally, the brushes were functionalized by decorating them with gold or silver nanoparticles, making them useful as catalysts.
The length of the brushes makes them suitable for use in efficient sensors and light-harvesting devices amongst other things, the researchers note.
- Science 366, 1095–1098 (2019). doi: 10.1126/science.aax9075