Li Shi, Florent Carn, Arsen Goukassov, Eric Buhler, and François Boué
Mixing negatively charged polyelectrolyte (PEL) with positively charged gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) in aqueous solution results in electrostatics complexes of different shapes and compactness. Here, when complexing with a semirigid PEL hyaluronic acid (HA), we obtain crystals made of nanoparticles in a new region of the phase diagram, as evidenced by small-angle Xray scattering (SAXS). The Au NPs were initially well dispersed in solution; their size distribution is well controlled but does not need to be extremely narrow. The bacterial hyaluronic acid, polydispersed, is commercially available. Such rather simple materials and mixing preparation produce a highly ordered crystalline phase of electrostatic complexes. The details of the interactions between spherical nanoparticles and linear polymer chains remain to be investigated. In practice, it opens a completely new and unexpected method of complexation. It has high potential, in particular because one can take advantage of the versatility of Au NPs associated with the specificity of biopolymers, varied due to natural biodiversity.