Polymer nanoparticles have been used in a wide variety of applications. In most of these applications, they are generally dispersed in a non-solvent. However, the effect of the non-solvent on the structure, physical properties and function of the nanoparticles has not yet ever taken into account. In this study, monodispersed poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanoparticles were prepared by a surfactant-free emulsion polymerization. The PMMA nanoparticles were dispersed in water and in methanol, both typical non-solvents for PMMA, so that we could discuss the effect of the non-solvent on the nanoparticles. Dynamic light scattering measurements revealed that the hydrodynamic radius of the PMMA nanoparticles in methanol was larger than the same PMMA dispersed in water. Their DLS values were also larger than the radius of the nanoparticles measured by atomic force microscopy. When pyrene was dispersed in methanol with the PMMA nanoparticles, it was incorporated into the nanoparticles. These results clearly indicate that non-solvent molecules can be sorbed into polymer nanoparticles because the area of the interface, where polymer segments might be dissolved into liquid phases, as the total volume is quite larger for such nanoparticles. Therefore, based on our findings, it can be arguably established that the present assumption for a polymer not to be swollen in its non-solvent is not necessarily true.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry