Fluorescent Silica Nanospheres as Nanotracers

J. Samuel, O. Raccurt, O. Poncelet, and O. Tillement (France)


Fluorescence, Silica, Nanoparticles, Polymer Nanocomposites, Surface Functionalization


Silica nanoparticles have been widely used during the last decade. It has been largely described that their incorporation into various polymeric matrix enhances the mechanical properties of the materials provided that the nanoparticles are well-dispersed. So to be able to set up experiments to check the homogeneity of the distribution of nanoparticles within a polymeric matrix remains a very attractive investigation field. Indeed, at the nanometric scale, surface attractive interactions become pre-eminent and cause aggregation of the nanoparticles. It is proposed to add fluorescent dyes into the silica nanoparticles synthesized by a reverse micro emulsion process to form nanometric probes. These nanoparticles are in all points similar to the nanoparticles to be traced (size, surface charge …), that’s why their fluorescence makes them efficient nanotracers. The surface of these nanoprobes can be tailored to make hydrophilic or hydrophobic nanoparticles well suited to fill each kind of polymers. Confocal microscope images show that the homogeneity of the incorporation can be easily monitored thanks to these nanotracers.

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