Morphological investigation of ternary and semicrystalline organic-inorganic hybrid nanocomposite

Laura C. E. da Silva, Maria do Carmo Gonçalves, Tomás Plivelic

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Organic–inorganic (O–I) hybrid nanocomposites have already been widely investigated in the optoelectronic industry and are emerging in the biomedical field. In both cases, a thorough knowledge of the O–I hybrid morphology is key for reaching tailored properties of the devices; however, up to now little is known on this matter. Herein, we used advanced X-ray scattering and microscopy techniques to investigate in detail the morphology and nanostructure of a biocompatible, ternary, and semicrystalline O–I hybrid nanocomposite made up of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), cross-linked by in situ-generated silsesquioxane structures (SS). Results showed that phase separation occurred at all length scales. At the microscale, irreversible PCL/PEG phase separation generated a globular morphology, where PEG-rich spherical domains were uniformly distributed within a PCL-rich matrix. At the nanoscale, partial organic/inorganic phase segregation resulted in the formation of polysilsesquioxane nanoparticles in both matrix and domains. Finally, an unusual crystalline behaviour was observed for the ternary O–I hybrid nanocomposite, PCL-PEG/SS, where PCL crystallization was anticipated and PEG crystallization was delayed in comparison with the binary PCL/SS and PEG/SS O–I hybrids as well as to a blend of the uncross-linked PCL and PEG precursors. These results provide new insights on how the competing processes of phase separation, crystallization, and inorganic cross-linking affect the overall morphology and nanostructure of O–I hybrid nanocomposites and, therefore, might be useful for establishing relevant structure–property relationships.
Sidor (från-till)6196–6211
Antal sidor16
TidskriftJournal of Materials Science
StatusPublished - 2022 mars 11

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Materialkemi


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