Special Reviews

Nanoparticle Polymer Composites: Where Two Small Worlds Meet

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Science  17 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5802, pp. 1107-1110
DOI: 10.1126/science.1130557

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Abstract

The mixing of polymers and nanoparticles is opening pathways for engineering flexible composites that exhibit advantageous electrical, optical, or mechanical properties. Recent advances reveal routes to exploit both enthalpic and entropic interactions so as to direct the spatial distribution of nanoparticles and thereby control the macroscopic performance of the material. For example, by tailoring the particle coating and size, researchers have created self-healing materials for improved sustainability and self-corralling rods for photovoltaic applications. A challenge for future studies is to create hierarchically structured composites in which each sublayer contributes a distinct function to yield a mechanically integrated, multifunctional material.

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