Microgels and Nanoparticles: Where Micro and Nano Go Hand in Hand

Beatriz H. Juarez 1  and Luis M. Liz-Marzán
  • 1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Dpto. Química-Física Aplicada and IMDEA Nanoscience, Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain
  • 2 Bionanoplasmonics Laboratory, CIC biomaGUNE, Paseo de Miramón 182, 20009 Donostia – San Sebastian, Spain
  • 3 Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, 20009 Bilbao, Spain


The integration of different types of materials in a single hybrid system allows the combination of multiple functionalities, which can even be used in conjunction with each other. This strategy has been exploited in nanoscale systems for the creation of so-called smart nanomaterials. Within this category, the combination of inorganic nanoparticles with stimuli-responsive microgels is of very high interest because of the wide variety of potential applications. We present here a short overview of this type of materials in which the nano- and micro-scales get nicely integrated, with a great potential to expand the range of technological applications. We focus mainly on the integration of metal nanoparticles, either by themselves or in combination with semiconductor and magnetic nanoparticles. Various examples of the synergic properties that can be obtained are described, as well as the possibility to extract useful information when optical tweezers are used to manipulate single particles. We expect that this review will stimulate additional research in this field.

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Founded in 1887, the Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie covers the main developments in physical chemistry, placing with an emphasis on experimental research. It represents a combination ofdiscusses reaction kinetics and spectroscopy, surface research and electrochemistry, thermodynamics and the structure analysis of matter in its various conditions, among other topics.