Controlled arrangement of inorganic nanoparticles in polymeric matrixes is a crucial key in the generation of advanced nanocomposites for new technological applications. The controlled combination of nanoparticles with a host polymer offer tremendous optio ns for the development of composites possessing novel catalytic, conductive, magnetic or optical properties. The extraordinary characteristics of these composites arise from the synergism between the properties of the components and from the interaction be tween nanoparticles and matrix. For this reason, the isolation of new routes for driving organic polymers and inorganic particles to assemble into nanocomposites is today considered a particularly important scientific challenge. Here, we propose a differen t and completely novel way to tackle the problem of ¿controlled dispersion¿ through the use of polymerization induced phase separation (PIPS). In this approach, nanoparticles coated with different organic or inorganic stabilizers will be initially disperse d in a reactive solvent. This solvent will be formed by a polymeric precursor (an epoxy monomer and an initiator) and a second component that phase separates during the polymerization reaction. By proper selection of the nanoparticle stabilizer, dispersion in the initial reactive solution and subsequent preferential migration of the particles to one of the separated phases would be achieved. The wide number of modifier/matrix combinations and the easy tuning of polymerization variables would make possible t he rational design of a high variety of morphologies, reinforcing the value of the proposed approach. Potential ¿short term¿ application areas for these composites include high density information storage, electro-luminescence-displays, electromagnetic shi elding, electronic devices, catalysis, sensing, etc.
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