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Polymeric Photoresist Nanoparticles: Light-Induced Degradation of Hydrophobic Polymers in Aqueous Dispersion



Nanoparticles consisting of a photoreactive polymer able to radically switch its hydrophobicity are successfully prepared by miniemulsion polymerization. Irradiation with UV light causes degradation of the particles whereat complete dissolution is achieved by changing the initial hydrophobic photoresist polymer into hydrophilic poly(methacrylic acid). Incorporation of the fluorescence-sensitive Nile red serves as a solvatochromic probe to study the particle degradation. Diffusion of either Nile red out from or water into the former hard spherical nanoparticles is studied and not only renders the described material an ideal system for applications, where in situ dissolution of nanoparticles may be needed, but also bears the additional advantage of performing controlled burst release.