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Perfectly Organized Gold Nanorings

Creating well-organized conducting nanostructures in a flexible polymer matrix provides platforms for numerous
applications in optics, sensors, and wave-guiding structures.  Working in the Materials Research Science and
Engineering Center (MRSEC) on Polymers at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Thayumanavan and Russell achieved self-assembled hybrid
structures from diblock copolymers and gold nanoparticles, where the
nanoparticles are exquisitely arranged in circular patterns as directed by the
polymer template.  Key to this process
was the synthesis of block copolymers having a photocleavable junction point;
after light-initiated polymer fragmentation, the template is left with
sulfur-rich functional groups having an affinity for metallic surfaces, such as
gold and silver nanoparticles.  The accompanying image shows the results of this process, with the dark circular areas indicating the presence of gold nanoparticles arranged along the edges of the circular polymer pattern.