New Article in iScience

A modular design approach to polymer-coated ZnO nanocrystals

Elżbieta Chwojnowska,Justyna Grzonka,Iwona Justyniak, Tomasz Ratajczyk, Janusz Lewiński

Hybrid materials based on inorganic nanocrystals with organic polymers feature peculiar and fascinating properties and various applications. However, there is still a need for simple synthesis procedures that provide precise control over the polymer/nanocrystal microstructure of these materials. Herein, a novel organometallic approach to polymer-coated ZnO nanocrystals was developed. The presented method merges the initial ring-opening polymerization of ϵ-caprolactone mediated by an organozinc alkoxide initiator and an air-promoted transformation of the resulting macromolecular organozinc species. This one-pot procedure results in quantum-sized ZnO crystals with a core diameter of ca 3 nm coated by poly(ϵ-caprolactone) covalently bonded to the surface. Overall, the ability to create well-defined hybrid composites should provide a unique ability to access various nanosystems.