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Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) have wide applications in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), biomedicine, drug delivery, hyperthermia therapy, catalysis, magnetic separation, and others. However, these applications are usually limited by irreversible agglomeration of IONPs in aqueous media because of their dipole-dipole interactions, and their poor stability. A protecting polymeric shell provides IONPs with not only enhanced long-term stability, but also the functionality of polymer shells. Therefore, polymer-grafted IONPs have recently attracted much attention of scientists. In this tutorial review, we will present the current strategies for grafting polymers onto the surface of IONPs, basically including "grafting from" and "grafting to" methods. Available functional groups and chemical reactions, which could be employed to bind polymers onto the IONP surface, are comprehensively summarized. Moreover, the applications of polymer-grafted IONPs will be briefly discussed. Finally, future challenges and perspectives in the synthesis and application of polymer-grafted IONPs will also be discussed.


Zaiyan Hou, Yijing Liu, Jiangping Xu, Jintao Zhu. Surface engineering of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles by polymer grafting: synthesis progress and biomedical applications. Nanoscale. 2020 Jul 23;12(28):14957-14975

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PMID: 32648868

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