Facile directed assembly of hollow polymer nanocapsules within spontaneously formed catanionic surfactant vesicles


Surfactant vesicles containing monomers in the interior of the bilayer were used to template hollow polymer nanocapsules. This study investigated the formation of surfactant/monomer assemblies by two loading methods, concurrent loading and diffusion loading. The assembly process and the resulting aggregates were investigated with dynamic light scattering, small angle neutron scattering, and small-angle X-ray scattering. Acrylic monomers formed vesicles with a mixture of cationic and anionic surfactants in a broad range of surfactant ratios. Regions with predominant formation of vesicles were broader for compositions containing acrylic monomers compared with blank surfactants. This observation supports the stabilization of the vesicular structure by acrylic monomers. Diffusion loading produced monomer-loaded vesicles unless vesicles were composed from surfactants at the ratios close to the boundary of a vesicular phase region on a phase diagram. Both concurrent-loaded and diffusion-loaded surfactant/monomer vesicles produced hollow polymer nanocapsules upon the polymerization of monomers in the bilayer followed by removal of surfactant scaffolds. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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