We report on photo-thermal eﬀects observed in gold nanoparticles (GNPs) dispersed in Nematic Liquid Crystals (NLCs). Under a suitable optical radiation, GNPs exhibit a strong light absorption/scattering; the eﬀect depends on the refractive index of the medium surrounding the nanoparticles, which can be electrically or optically tuned. In this way, the system represents an ideal nano-source of heat, remotely controllable by light to adjust the temperature at the nanoscale. Photo-induced temperature variations in GNPs dispersed in NLCs have been investigated by implementing a theoretical model based on the thermal heating equation applied to an anisotropic medium; theoretical predictions have been compared with results of experiments carried out in a NLC medium hosting GNPs. Both theory and experiments represent a step forward to understand the physics of heat production at the nanoscale, with applications that range from photonics to nanomedicine.
Colloidal chemistry strategies are mature techniques, now able to provide highly processable nanocrystals (NCs)
soluble in a variety solvents, possessing an adjustable organic interface, for obtaining assembled structures. Indeed the
NCs can be organized in superstructures by means of spontaneous assembly, in order to bridge the gap between nanoand
mesoscale. In self assembly procedures, the organization is driven by the intrinsic information coded into the
building blocks, namely size, shape and surface chemistry. The distinct properties of the nanometer-scale "buildingblocks"
can be thus harnessed in assemblies presenting new collective properties, which can be further engineered by
controlling inter-particle spacing and by material processing. Self assembly approaches of colloidal NCs can effectively
exploit the solvent evaporation to form closely packed superlattices, since collective interaction energy can overcome the
entropy loss due to ordering. The control on the NC characteristics is then crucial for the achievement of well controlled
superstructures, with long range order and stability, being the individual NCs considered as "artificial atoms" in such
superlattice structures. In this perspective the emerging concept of NC based metamaterials, that is a material with
properties occurring from the controlled positioning of the different interacting NCs in an assembly, arise.
TiO2 dot and rod shaped colloidal nanocrystals (NCs) prepared by an hydrolytic colloidal route and capped with different surfactants have been spin coated onto gold substrates and onto quartz slides. Morphological, structural and optical characterization of the colloidal NCs and the thin films has been performed by means of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and UV-VIS spectroscopy. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) has been used as optical transduction method to test the sensing ability of the prepared films for alcohols vapours detection as a function of NC shape, capping molecule and thermal treatment.
High quality luminescent CdS and CdSe nanocrystals, with tuneable band edge emission, were synthesized by means of thermal decomposition of precursors in organic solvents, incorporated in polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate) and deposited by casting, yielding optically transparent luminescent films.
The obtained nanocomposite films were characterized by spectroscopical (UV-vis absorption and emission) and structural (TEM analysis) techniques. The effect of NC composition, concentration, size, and surface chemistry was evaluated in order to understand the role played by such factors in the nanocomposite optical properties for both the investigated polymers. The presence of organic ligand shell was demonstrated to be critical for the NCs incorporation into the polymer matrix.
In this work the host-guest chemistry of α-cyclodextrin has been investigated in order to mediate the phase transfer from organic solvent to water of blue emitting CdS nanocrystals. Oleic acid capped CdS nanocrystals have been synthesized by using colloidal chemistry routes in non-coordinating solvents and effectively transferred from hexane phase in aqueous solution. The transfer has been mediated by the formation of an inclusion complex between nanocrystal surfactant and α-cyclodextrins. The optical properties of the nanocrystal water solution, the effect of cyclodextrin concentration and the nanocrystal size on the phase transfer efficiency have been investigated. Finally a layer-by-layer assembling procedure of CdS nanocrystals complexed by cyclodextrins has been exploited to set up a supramolecular hierarchical multilayer system with high level of structural complexity.