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ACS Nano. 2011 Aug 23;5(8):6339-48. doi: 10.1021/nn201421y. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Supramolecular route to well-ordered metal nanofoams.

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Polymer Chemistry, Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Metal nanofoams with a porosity above 50% v/v have recently attracted great interest in materials science due to their interesting properties. We demonstrate a new straightforward route to prepare such nanofoams using diblock copolymer-based PS-block-P4VP(PDP) supramolecules that self-assemble into a bicontinuous gyroid morphology, consisting of PS network channels in a P4VP(PDP) matrix. After dissolving the PDP, the P4VP collapses onto the PS struts and a free-standing bicontinuous gyroid template of 50-100 μm thickness and interconnected, uniformly sized pores is formed. The hydrophilic P4VP corona facilitates the penetration of water-based plating reagents into the porous template and enables a successful metal deposition. After plating, the polymer is simply degraded by heating, resulting in a well-ordered inverse gyroid nickel foam. Essential to this approach is the removal of only one part of the matrix (i.e., PDP). Therefore, the template accounts for 50% v/v or more. The porosity characteristics (amount, size of pores) can be tuned by selecting the appropriate copolymer and by adjusting the amount of PDP.

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