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Inverse Miniemulsion Periphery RAFT Polymerization: A Convenient Route to Hollow Polymeric Nanoparticles with an Aqueous Core

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 15:56 by Robert H. Utama, Martina H. Stenzel, Per B. Zetterlund
The recently developed [Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 11103−11105] inverse miniemulsion periphery RAFT polymerization (IMEPP) approach to prepare hollow polymeric nanoparticles (∼200 nm) with an aqueous core has been explored in detail. The method is based on an amphiphilic macroRAFT agent acting as stabilizer of water droplets in an organic continuous phase while also mediating cross-linking chain growth in a controlled/living manner on the outer periphery of the droplets. The macroRAFT agent comprised a hydrophilic block of poly­(N-(2-hydroxypropyl)­methacrylamide) and a hydrophobic block of either polystyrene or poly­(methyl methacrylate), and the cross-linked shell was formed on polymerization of styrene/divinylbenzene or methyl methacrylate/ethylene glycol dimethacrylate, respectively. The effects of various reaction parameters on the resulting hollow nanoparticles have been systematically investigated, and it has been demonstrated that the shell thickness can be tuned based on initial stoichiometry and monomer conversion. This method is particularly relevant for encapsulation of proteinssuccessful incorporation of proteins (bovine serum albumin) into the miniemulsion did not negatively affect the droplet size and stability.