Report

Polymersomes: Tough Vesicles Made from Diblock Copolymers

Science  14 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5417, pp. 1143-1146
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5417.1143

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Abstract

Vesicles were made from amphiphilic diblock copolymers and characterized by micromanipulation. The average molecular weight of the specific polymer studied, polyethyleneoxide-polyethylethylene (EO40-EE37), is several times greater than that of typical phospholipids in natural membranes. Both the membrane bending and area expansion moduli of electroformed polymersomes (polymer-based liposomes) fell within the range of lipid membrane measurements, but the giant polymersomes proved to be almost an order of magnitude tougher and sustained far greater areal strain before rupture. The polymersome membrane was also at least 10 times less permeable to water than common phospholipid bilayers. The results suggest a new class of synthetic thin-shelled capsules based on block copolymer chemistry.

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