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Diverse States and Properties of Polymer Nanoparticles and Gel Formed by Polyethyleneimine and Aldehydes and Analytical Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2015, 00:00 by Yu Ling, Fei Qu, Qian Zhou, Ting Li, Zhong Feng Gao, Jing Lei Lei, Nian Bing Li, Hong Qun Luo
Multicolor polymer nanoparticles (or dots) were prepared via the reaction between hyperbranched polyethyleneimine (PEI) and aldehydes, and when the concentration of aldehydes was lower, the final mixture displayed gelation behavior. This phenomenon can be applied to visual detection of aldehydes. Moreover, the colors of the polymer dots and gel are varied by using different kinds of aldehydes, which can be utilized for visual discrimination of aldehydes. For simplicity, we focus our attention on the interaction between PEI and formaldehyde. The nanoparticles show an average diameter of 42 nm, emit bright cyan fluorescence with high quantum yield, and exhibit high water dispersibility and excellent photostability. Due to the advantages, our polymer nanoparticles (PNPs) are utilized as a fluorescent probe for imaging in living SK-N-SH cells. Furthermore, valuable explorations have been carried out on the fundamental properties of PNPs, such as concentration-dependent fluorescence, pH-dependent fluorescence, and solvent effect.