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Thermosensitive graphene nanocomposites formed using pyrene-terminal polymers made by RAFT polymerization

Authors

  • Jingquan Liu,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
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  • Wenrong Yang,

    1. Australian Key Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
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  • Lei Tao,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
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  • Dan Li,

    1. Department of Materials Engineering, Monash University, Clayton Victoria 3800, Australia
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  • Cyrille Boyer,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
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  • Thomas P. Davis

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
    • Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
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Abstract

Thermosensitive graphene-polymer composites have been prepared by attaching poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) onto the basal plane of graphene sheets via π-π stacking. Pyrene-terminated PNIPAAm was synthesized using reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization via a pyrene-functional RAFT agent. Aqueous solutions of the graphene-polymer composites were stable and thermosensitive. The lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of pyrene-terminated PNIPAAm was measured to be 33 °C. When the pyrene-functional polymer was attached to graphene the resultant composites were also thermosensitive in aqueous solutions exhibiting a reversible suspension behavior at 24 °C. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis revealed that the thickness of a graphene-PNIPAAm (Mn: 10,000 and PDI: 1.1) sheet was ∼5.0 nm. The surface coverage of polymer chains on the graphene basal plane was calculated to be 7.2 × 10−11 mol cm−2. The graphene-PNIPAAm composite material was successfully characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 48: 425–433, 2010

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