A multifunctional biomedical agent with magnetism, pH-sensitive, fluorescent properties was fabricated as a triple-layered magnetite/hydrogel/quantum dots. First, core–shell magnetic silica nanospheres (Fe3O4@SiO2) were synthesized via the sol–gel
reaction of magnetite clusters with tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), and the resuting magnetic particles were encapsulated with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) hydrogels through a free radical polymerization. The hydrogel-encapsulated magnetic particles were subsequently
anchored by quantum dots (QDs) via the molecular linkage of bi-functional diamines. Diamine molecules effecrively induced the crosslinking between magnetic hydrogels and quantum dots. Among diamine linkers with different chain lengths (C-4, C-8, and C-12), C-8 diamine (1,8-diaminooctane) produced
the maximal PL intensity for QD-bound hydrogels, indicating that C-8 diamine was an optimal cross-linker between hydrogels and QDs with surface carboxylic acid groups. The characteristic properties of the multifunctional nanocomposites were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier
transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), zeta-potential meter, and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy.
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