The capacity to respond or adapt to environmental changes is an intrinsic property of living systems that comprise highly-connected subcomponents communicating through chemical networks. The development of responsive synthetic systems is a relatively new research area that covers different disciplines, among which nanochemistry brings conceptually new demonstrations. Especially attractive are ligand-protected gold nanoparticles, which have been extensively used over the last decade as building blocks in constructing superlattices or dynamic aggregates, under the effect of an applied stimulus. To reflect the importance of surface chemistry and nanoparticle core composition in the dynamic self-assembly of nanoparticles, we provide here an overview of various available stimuli, as tools for synthetic chemists to exploit. Along with this task, the review starts with the use of chemical stimuli such as solvent, pH, gases, metal ions or biomolecules. It then focuses on physical stimuli: temperature, magnetic and electric fields, as well as light. To reflect on the increasing complexity of current architectures, we discuss systems that are responsive to more than one stimulus, to finally encourage further research by proposing future challenges.
ASJC Scopus subject areas