Rusli, W.; Jackson, A. W.; Herk, A. V., A roadmap towards successful nanocapsule synthesis via vesicle templated RAFT-based emulsion polymerization. Polymers 2018, 10 (7): 774, DOI: 10.3390/polym10070774.
Vesicle templated emulsion polymerization is a special form of emulsion polymerization where the polymer is grown from the outside of the vesicle, leading to nanocapsules. Cost effective nanocapsules synthesis is in high demand due to phasing out of older methods for capsule synthesis. Although the first indications of this route being successful were published some 10 years ago, until now a thorough understanding of the parameters controlling the morphologies resulting from the template emulsion polymerization was lacking. Most often a mixture of different morphologies was obtained, ranging from solid particles to pro-trusion structures to nanocapsules. A high yield of nanocapsules was not achieved until now. In this paper, the influence of initial vesicle dispersion, choice of the Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) species and oligomer, monomer and crosslinker have been investigated. It turns out that good initial vesicle dispersion, molecular control of the RAFT process, a not too hydrophobic monomer and some crosslinking is needed to result in high yield of nanocapsules. In previous work, the level of RAFT control was often suboptimal and not properly verified and although nanocapsules were shown, other morphologies were also present. We now believe we have a full understanding of vesicle templated nanocapsules synthesis, relevant to many applications.
This work was funded by Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Singapore (ICES-13-5B5A-02), grant ID 13254.