Biomedical research has shown that one-dimensional nanostructures present many potential advantages as delivery vehicles for drugs and biologics. These elongated structures have high aspect ratios that enable increased drug loading capacities and have been shown to have longer in vivo circulation times than other spherical nanoparticles. The increasing interest in these one-dimensional structures has necessitated the developments of fabrication methods for the precise control of the final morphology. A simple, cost effective means of producing nanotubes and nanorods is known as solution template wetting. While this technique has been used to fabricate many different types of elongated nanostructures, the parameters governing the final morphology remain ambiguous. The objectives of this research are to investigate these critical parameters, and furthermore to develop an understanding of the physical mechanism of nanostructure formation. The effects of the infiltration technique, dipping time, polymer molecular weight and template pore size on the morphology of the resulting nanostructure have been evaluated. Key results have established that the infiltration technique is a critical parameter that can enable the formation of stable nanotubes at very low polymer concentrations. Additionally, a tube to rod transition occurs as the infiltration time is increased over 18 hr. An investigation of the rheological properties of high and low molecular weight solutions also indicates that the capillary flow and infiltration of polymer occurs differently. Finally, the pore size was also shown to affect the ability to form hollow, stable structures, and that relatively large pore sizes are necessary for nanotube formation. The culmination of these results is an understanding of the physical layering mechanism of structure formation, and the tube to rod transition can thus be predicted by researchers investigating the use of elongated nanostructures for biomedical applications.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Materials Science & Engineering
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Pasquali, Meghan, "Mechanism of Nanostructure Formation during Solution Template Wetting" (2011). Masters Theses (All Theses, All Years). 281.
polymer nanotubes, template wetting