In this work, tris(phenantroline)ruthenium(II) chloride (Ru(phen)3) was immobilized in silica nanoparticles prepared according to the Stöber method. Efforts were devoted on the optimization of the nano-thermometer in terms of size, polydispersity, intensity of the emission and temperature sensitivity. In particular, the immobilization of the luminophore in an external thin shell made of silica grown in a second step on bare silica nanoparticles allowed producing fluorescent monodisperse silica nanoparticles (420 ± 20 nm). A systematic study was addressed to maximize the intensity of the emission of the fluorescent nanoparticles by adjusting the concentration of Ru(phen)3 2+ in the shell from 0.2 to 24 wt.%, whereas the thickness of the shell is affected by the amount of silica precursor employed. The luminescent activity of the doped nanoparticles was found to be sensitive to the temperature. In fact, the intensity of the emission linearly decreased by increasing the temperature from 20 °C to 65 °C. The thermoresponsive nanoparticles were functionalized with long aliphatic chains in order to obtain hydrophobic nanoparticles. The developed nanoparticles were immobilized via dip-coating procedure on the surface of hydrophobic porous membranes, such as Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) prepared via Non-Solvent Induced Phase Separation (NIPS), providing local information about the membrane surface temperature.
- Core-shell silica
- Fluorescent nanoparticles