A versatile template-assisted strategy for the preparation of monodispersed rattle-type hybrid nanospheres, encapsulating a movable Au nanocore in the hollow cavity of a hairy electroactive polymer shell (Au@air@PTEMA-g-P3HT hybrid nanorattles; PTEMA: poly(2-(thiophen-3-yl)ethyl methacrylate; P3HT: poly(3-hexylthiophene), was reported. The Au@silica core-shell nanoparticles, prepared by the modified Stöber sol–gel process on Au nanoparticle seeds, were used as templates for the synthesis of Au@silica@PTEMA core-double shell nanospheres. Subsequent oxidative graft polymerization of 3-hexylthiophene from the exterior surface of the Au@silica@PTEMA core-double shell nanospheres allowed the tailoring of surface functionality with electroactive P3HT brushes (Au@silica@PTEMA-g-P3HT nanospheres). The Au@air@ PTEMA-g-P3HT hybrid nanorattles were obtained after etching of the silica interlayer by HF. The as-prepared nanorattles were dispersed into an electrically insulating polystyrene matrix and for the first time used to fabricate nonvolatile memory devices. As a result, unique electrical behaviors, including insulator behavior, write-once-read-many-times and rewritable memory effects, and conductor behavior as well, were observed in the Al/Au@air@PTEMA-g-P3HT+PS/ITO (ITO: indium-tin oxide) sandwich thin-film devices.
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