Postsynthesis Nanoparticle Functionalization

Although it is commonly advantageous to modify nanoparticles as they are created, the covalent attachment of molecules to the surface of a nanoparticle is, generally, a dynamic process in which the surface-confined molecules are in dynamic equilibrium with those in the surrounding solution. Because of this, it is possible to displace surface bound molecules with those for which surface-confinement is more thermodynami-cally favorable—for example, it is possible to displace short chain alkane thiols with those of longer chain.[32] The use of terminally functionalized alkanethiols facilitates the controlled introduction of surface chemistry into generated nanoparticles—they can be rendered anionic, cationic, hydrophobic and/or suitable for coupling to other molecules or surfaces.

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