Homogeneous dispersion of gadolinium oxide nanoparticles into a non-aqueous-based polymer by two surface treatments
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- Samuel, J., Raccurt, O., Mancini, C. et al. J Nanopart Res (2011) 13: 2417. doi:10.1007/s11051-010-0129-6
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Gadolinium oxide nanoparticles are more and more used. They can notably provide interesting fluorescence properties. Herein they are incorporated into a non-aqueous-based polymer, the poly(methyl methacrylate). Their dispersion within the polymer matrix is the key to improve the composite properties. As-received gadolinium oxide nanopowders cannot be homogeneously dispersed in such a polymer matrix. Two surface treatments are, therefore, detailed and compared to achieve a good stability of the nanoparticles in a non-aqueous solvent such as the 2-butanone. Then, once the liquid suspensions have been stabilized, they are used to prepare nanocomposites with homogeneous particles dispersion. The two approaches proposed are an hybrid approach based on the growth of a silica shell around the gadolinium oxide nanoparticles, and followed by a suitable silane functionalization; and a non-hybrid approach based on the use of surfactants. The surface treatments and formulations involved in both methods are detailed, adjusted and compared. Thanks to optical methods and in particular to the use of a ‘home made’ confocal microscope, the dispersion homogeneity within the polymer can be assessed. Both methods provide promising and conclusive results.