Get access

Monodisperse Polymer Capsules: Tailoring Size, Shell Thickness, and Hydrophobic Cargo Loading via Emulsion Templating

Authors

  • Jiwei Cui,

    1. Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The University of Melbourne Parkville, Victoria 3010 (Australia)
    2. Key Laboratory of Colloid and Interface Chemistry of Ministry of Education Shandong University Jinan 250100 (China)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Yajun Wang,

    1. Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The University of Melbourne Parkville, Victoria 3010 (Australia)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Almar Postma,

    1. CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies Clayton, Victoria 3168 (Australia)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jingcheng Hao,

    1. Key Laboratory of Colloid and Interface Chemistry of Ministry of Education Shandong University Jinan 250100 (China)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Leticia Hosta-Rigau,

    1. Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The University of Melbourne Parkville, Victoria 3010 (Australia)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Frank Caruso

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The University of Melbourne Parkville, Victoria 3010 (Australia)
    • Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The University of Melbourne Parkville, Victoria 3010 (Australia).
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The preparation of monodisperse polymer (polydopamine, PDA) capsules by a one-step interfacial polymerization of dopamine onto dimethyldiethoxysilane (DMDES) emulsion droplets and removal of the DMDES templates with ethanol is reported. The diameters of the PDA capsules can be tailored from 400 nm to 2.4 µm by varying either the DMDES emulsion condensation time or the emulsion concentration used for templating. Further, capsules with defined nanometer-scale shell thicknesses (ranging from ∼10 to 30 nm) can be prepared by adjusting the emulsion concentration. This shell thickness can be increased by repeated interfacial polymerization of dopamine, with three cycles yielding capsules with a shell thickness of up to 140 nm (for a 0.6% v/v suspension). Functional substances, such as organically stabilized magnetic (Fe3O4) nanoparticles, quantum dots (CdSe/CdS), and hydrophobic drugs (thiocoraline), can be preloaded in the emulsion droplets, and following PDA coating and DMDES removal, these materials remain encapsulated in the polymer capsules. All of the unloaded and loaded PDA capsules are monodisperse and do not aggregate. This work provides new avenues for the preparation of polymer capsules with defined size and shell thickness and for the encapsulation of a range of hydrophobic substances.

Ancillary