Impact of critical micelle concentration of macroRAFT agents on the encapsulation of colloidal Au nanoparticles.

Affiliation

Department of Chemistry, CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, Campus de Santiago, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE : Reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) - assisted encapsulating emulsion polymerization (REEP) has received considerable attention as an efficient strategy to prepare colloidal stable shell@core nanoparticles. Generally, amphipathic macroRAFT agents are used but the effect of working above or below the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of macroRAFT agents needs to be addressed. Hence, it is necessary to understand if this parameter has an impact not only on the stability of the colloids but also on the molecular mass of the polymer shell.
METHODS : Here, the CMC of three different macroRAFT agent was determined and the effect of macroRAFT agents concentration on the colloidal stability of gold nanoparticles coated with macroRAFT agents (macroRAFT@Au) assessed. The subsequent chain extension from macroRAFT@Au NPs, resulting in encapsulated Au nanoparticles (copolymer@Au), has also been systematically studied.
RESULTS : Using the REEP approach it was possible to obtain stable encapsulated Au NPs. Moreover, this strategy opens the possibility of adjusting the macroRAFT agents concentration to tune the length of the polymer chains grown around Au cores which is of major interest for the design of biosensors based on responsive polymer shells, such as pH, temperature and photoluminescence quenching.

Keywords

Critical micelle concentration,Gold nanostructures,RAFT assisted encapsulating emulsion polymerization,RAFT polymerization,macroRAFT agents,

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