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Facile Polymerization in a Bicellar Template to Produce Polymer Nano-Rings



Chung-Hao Liu, Catherine Cheu, John Barker, Lin Yang, Mu-Ping Nieh


Hypothesis: A well-defined discoidal bicelle composed of three lipids, specifically zwitterionic long-chain 1,2-dipalmitoyl phosphocholine (DPPC) and short-chain 1,2-dihexanoyl phosphocholine (DHPC) doped with anionic 1,2-dipalmitoyl phosphoglycerol (DPPG) provides a generalized template for the synthesis of hydrophobic polymer nanorings. The lipid molar ratio of DPPC/DHPC/DPPG is 0.71/0.25/0.04. The detailed investigation and discussion were based on styrene but tested on three other vinyl monomers. Experiments: The structure of nano-rings is identified through the detailed analysis of small angle X-ray/neutron scattering (SAXS and SANS) data and transmission electron micrographs (TEM), supported by the differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) data before and after polymerization. The investigation covers samples with a styrene-to-lipid ratio ranged varied from 1:50 to 1:10. Findings: The styrene monomers are initially located at both discoidal planar (long-chain lipid rich) and rim (short-chain lipid rich) regions. During polymerization, they migrate to the more fluid rim. The formation mechanism involves the interplay of hydrophobic interaction, mismatched miscibility of polystyrene between the ordered and disordered phases, and crystallinity of the long lipid acyl chains. This facile synthesis is proven applicable for several hydrophobic monomers. The well-defined nano-rings greatly enhance the interfacial area and have the potential to be the building blocks for functional materials, if monomers are incorporated with desirable functions, for future applications. Key word: Discoidal bicelles, emulsion polymerization, radical polymerization, SAXS/SANS, contrast variation
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Part A


small angle scattering, bicelle, calorimetry, transmission electron microscopy, polymer


Liu, C. , Cheu, C. , Barker, J. , Yang, L. and Nieh, M. (2023), Facile Polymerization in a Bicellar Template to Produce Polymer Nano-Rings, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, [online],, (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created January 15, 2023, Updated March 11, 2024