Metal Nanoparticle-Conjugated Polymer Nanocomposites
Metal nanoparticles (NPs) exhibit properties differing from bulk metal due to quantum size effects, including novel electronic, optical and chemical behaviour. The properties may be tuned via control of shape, size, inter-particle spacing and dielectric environment. Nanocomposites, in which materials are mixed on the nanoscale, are of particular interest as they combine the properties of two or more different materials with the possibility of novel mechanical, electronic or chemical behaviour arising. Hybrid nanocomposites of conjugated materials and metal NPs are being prepared from a range of different metals, and using different types of conjugated polymers and oligomer linkers. The effect of this on the optical properties of the NPs, electronic behavior of both the NPs and conjugated material are being examined. Recently, we have demonstrated that these hybrid materials can be used in chemical sensing applications to detect alcohol vapors selectively.