Block copolymers can be used as “containers” which can be filled, e.g., by drugs, dyes, nanoparticles etc. Such polymeric containers can also contain ordered clusters of nanoparticles – with possibly novel collective properties, different from those of single nanoparticles and bulk material.
In a recent study, FeO_x nanoparticles of diameter 8 nm were encapsulated in such a block copolymer with ratios of polymer:nanoparticle between 20:1 and 400:1. Additionally, hybrid nanomaterials combining FeO_x with quantum dots, quantum rods, gold nanoparticles etc. were produced.