In this study, we report the functionalization of silica nanoparticles with highly photoreactive phenyl azido groups and their utility as a negatively charged building block for layer-by-layer (LbL) electrostatic assembly to produce a stable silica nanoparticle coating. Azido-terminated silica nanoparticles were prepared by the functionalization of bare silica nanoparticles with 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane followed by the reaction with 4-azidobenzoic acid. The azido functionalization was confirmed by FTIR and XPS. Poly(allylamine hydrochloride) was also grafted with phenyl azido groups and used as photoreactive polycations for LbL assembly. For the photoreactive silica nanoparticle/polycation multilayers, UV irradiation can induce the covalent cross-linking within the multilayers as well as the anchoring of the multilayer film onto the organic substrate, through azido photochemical reactions including C–H insertion/abstraction reactions with surrounding molecules and dimerization of azido groups. Our results show that the stability of the silica nanoparticle/polycation multilayer film was greatly improved after UV irradiation. Combined with a fluoroalkylsilane post-treatment, the photoreactive LbL multilayers were used as a coating for superhydrophobic modification of cotton fabrics. Herein the LbL assembly method enables us to tailor the number of the coated silica nanoparticles through the assembly cycles. The superhydrophobicity of cotton fabrics was durable against acids, bases, and organic solvents, as well as repeated machine wash. Because of the unique azido photochemistry, the approach used here to anchor silica nanoparticles is applicable to almost any organic substrate.
Field of Research
091205 Functional Materials 091209 Polymers and Plastics