Transparent TiO2/PMMA hybrids with a thickness of 5 mm and improved refractive indices were prepared by in situ polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) in the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles bearing poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) chains grown using surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP), and the effect of the chain length of modified PMMA on the dispersibility of modified TiO2 nanoparticles in the bulk hybrids was investigated. The surfaces of TiO2 nanoparticles were modified with both m-(chloromethyl)phenylmethanoyloxymethylphosphonic acid bearing a terminal ATRP initiator and isodecyl phosphate with a high affinity for common organic solvents, leading to sufficient dispersibility of the surface-modified particles in toluene. Subsequently, SI-ATRP of MMA was achieved from the modified surfaces of the TiO2 nanoparticles without aggregation of the nanoparticles in toluene. The molecular weights of the PMMA chains cleaved from the modified TiO2 nanoparticles increased with increases in the prolonging of the polymerization period, and these exhibited a narrow distribution, indicating chain growth controlled by SI-ATRP. The nanoparticles bearing PMMA chains were well-dispersed in MMA regardless of the polymerization period. Bulk PMMA hybrids containing modified TiO2 nanoparticles with a thickness of 5 mm were prepared by in situ polymerization of the MMA dispersion. The transparency of the hybrids depended significantly on the chain length of the modified PMMA on the nanoparticles, because the modified PMMA of low molecular weight induced aggregation of the TiO2 nanoparticles during the in situ polymerization process. The refractive indices of the bulk hybrids could be controlled by adjusting the TiO2 content and could be increased up to 1.566 for 6.3 vol % TiO2 content (1.492 for pristine PMMA).
- surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization
- TiO/PMMA hybrids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)