Surface functionalization of titanium dioxide nanoparticles with alkanephosphonic acids for transparent nanocomposites

G. J. Ruiterkamp, M. A. Hempenius, H. Wormeester, G. J. Vancso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


The surface functionalization of rutile titanium dioxide nanoparticles with 1-decylphosphonic acid and diethyl undec-10-enyl phosphonate in a two-stage process, involving a change in reaction medium, is described. Similarly, 1-decylphosphonic acid and diethyl 1-decylphosphonate were employed as surface modifiers. The nanoparticles coated in two successive steps formed stable, transparent dispersions in toluene. Surface functionalization was monitored using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), which showed enhanced surface coverage after the second capping step. Incorporation of C=C-terminal surface coupling molecules in the second stage was directly proved using FTIR. Dynamic light scattering measurements showed that the dual-functionalized particles possessed a uniform size of around 13 nm. Particle dimensions were further analyzed using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Transparent nanocomposites were formed by introducing the functionalized nanoparticles into a poly(benzyl acrylate) matrix. The refractive index of poly(benzyl acrylate) composites, measured by spectroscopic ellipsometry, increased from 1.57 for the pure polymer to 1.63 for 14.0 vol.% TiO2 at λ = 586 nm. Nanocomposite films with particle weight percentages of up to 30% (9.5 vol.%) showed a high light transmittance of around 90% at wavelengths above λ = 400 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2779-2790
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of nanoparticle research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Alkanephosphonic acid
  • Nanocomposite
  • Nanoparticle
  • Organic-inorganic
  • Polymers
  • Refractive index
  • Rutile


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