Simultaneous size control and surface functionalization of titania nanoparticles through bioadhesion-assisted bio-inspired mineralization
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Simultaneous size control and surface functionalization of inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) are often desired for their efficient applications in (bio)catalysis, drug and/or DNA delivery, and photonics, etc. In this study, a novel strategy “bioadhesion-assisted bio-inspired mineralization (BABM)” was put forward to prepare titania nanoparticles (TiNPs) with tunable particle size and multiple surface functionality. Specifically, the initial formation and subsequent growth of TiNPs were enabled by arginine via bio-inspired mineralization, while the mineralization process was terminated through the addition of the pre-polymerized dopa (oligodopa). By adjusting the addition time of oligodopa, the size of TiNPs could be facilely tailored from ca. 30–350 nm; meanwhile, the surface of TiNPs could be functionalized by oligodopa through metal–catechol coordination interaction (a typical bioadhesion phenomenon). In other words, oligodopa coating could not only exquisitely control the size of TiNPs, but also render TiNPs surface multifunctional groups for secondary treatment such as conjugating proteins through amine-catechol adduct formation. Hopefully, this BABM approach will construct a versatile platform for green and facile synthesis of inorganic NPs, in particular transition metal oxide NPs.