CHEMISTRY: Capturing Polymer Nanoparticles

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Science  13 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5660, pp. 927e-929e
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5660.927e

Across the spectrum of materials science, there is a desire to make particles with dimensions below 100 nm. For the case of polymers, electrospinning can be used to make very thin polymer fibers, but making free-standing polymer nanoparticles for applications such as drug delivery is still a challenge. One route that has been extensively explored is the rapid expansion of a supercritical solution through a nozzle, with carbon dioxide as the solvent of choice. This route produces some nanometer-sized particles, but the majority are micrometer-sized. Meziani et al. modified the process so that the supercritical polymer solution is ejected into water rather than into air. The polymer they studied, poly(heptafluorodecylacrylate) (PHDFDA) is insoluble in water, and so it precipitates out to form nanoscale particles. Unstabilized, the particles clumped together to form larger aggregates, but the addition of base and the surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate stabilized the nanoparticles for at least several days. — MSL

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 43, 704 (2004).

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