Rapidly adaptive all-covalent nanoparticle surface engineering

Marta Diez-Castellnou, Rongtian Suo, Nicolas Marro, Saphia Matthew, Euan Robert Kay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Emerging nanotechnologies demand the manipulation of nanoscale components with the same predictability and programmability as is taken for granted in molecular synthetic methodologies. Yet installing appropriately reactive chemical functionality on nanomaterial surfaces has previously entailed compromises in terms of reactivity scope, functionalization density, or both. Here, we introduce an idealized dynamic covalent nanoparticle building block for divergent and adaptive post-synthesis modification of colloidal nanomaterials. Acetal-protected monolayer-stabilized gold nanoparticles are prepared via operationally simple protocols and are stable to long-term storage. Tunable surface densities of reactive aldehyde functionalities are revealed on-demand, leading to a wide range of adaptive surface engineering options from one nanoscale synthon. Analytically tractable with molecular precision, interfacial reaction kinetics and dynamic surface constitutions can be probed in situ at the ensemble level. High functionalization densities combined with rapid equilibration kinetics enable environmentally adaptive surface constitutions and rapid nanoparticle property switching in response to simple chemical effectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9948-9953
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number38
Early online date21 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021


  • Acetals
  • Adaptive colloidal nanoparticles
  • Dynamic covalent chemistry
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Hydrazones


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