Optimizing PEGylation of TiO2 Nanocrystals through a Combined Experimental and Computational Study

by D. Selli, M. Tawfilas, M. Mauri, R. Simonutti and C. Di Valentin

Chem. Mater., 2019, 31, pp 7531-7546  View at Publisher

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.9b02329

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PEGylation of metal oxide nanoparticles is the common approach to improve their biocompatibility and in vivo circulation time. In this work, we present a combined experimental and theoretical study to determine the operating condition that guarantee very high grafting densities, which are desirable in any biomedical application. Moreover, we present an insightful conformational analysis spanning different coverage regimes and increasing polymer chain lengths. Based on 13C NMR measurements and molecular dynamics simulations, we show that classical and popular models of polymer conformation on surfaces fail in determining the mushroom-to-brush transition point and prove that it actually takes place only at rather high grafting density values.