2017 journal article
In situ curing of liquid epoxy via gold-nanoparticle mediated photothermal heating
Nanotechnology, 28(6), 065601.
Metal nanoparticles incorporated at low concentration into epoxy systems enable in situ curing via photothermal heating. In the process of nanoparticle-mediated photothermal heating, light interacts specifically with particles embedded within a liquid or solid material and this energy is transformed into heat, resulting in significant temperature increase local to each particle with minimal warming of surroundings. The ability to use such internal heating to transform the mechanical properties of a material (e.g., from liquid to rigid solid) without application of damaging heat to the surrounding environment represents a powerful tool for a variety of scientific applications, particularly within the biomedical sector. Uniform particle dispersion is achieved by placing the nanoparticles within solvent miscible with the desired epoxy resin, demonstrating a strategy utilizable for a wide range of materials without requiring chemical modification of the particles or epoxy. Mechanical and thermal properties (storage modulus, T g, and degradation behavior) of the cured epoxy are equivalent to those obtained under traditional heating methods. Selective curing of a shape is demonstrated within a liquid bath of epoxy, where the solid form is generated by rastering a spatially confined, photothermal-driving light beam. The non-irradiated regions are largely unaffected and the solid part is easily removed from the remaining liquid. Temperature profiles showing minimal heating outside the irradiated zone are presented and discussed.