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Unraveling the Single-Nanometer Thickness of Shells of Vesicle-Templated Polymer Nanocapsules

Published

Author(s)

Andrew G.. Richter, Sergey A. Dergunov, Mariya D. Kim, Sergey N. Shmakov, Sai Venkatesh Pingali, Volker S. Urban, Yun Liu, Eugene Pinkhassik

Abstract

The recent emergence of vesicle-templated nanocapsules as a viable platform for diverse applications has heightened the need for detailed structural characterization of nanocapsule shells and for better understanding of surfactant-mediated directed assembly of nanomaterials. Information on the thickness is a critical structural parameter of nanocapsules, where the shell plays a crucial role providing mechanical stability and control of permeability. Here we used small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to determine the thickness of freestanding and surfactant-stabilized nanocapsules. Despite being at the edge of detectability, we were able to show the polymer shell thickness to be typically 1.0 plus or minus}0.1 nm, which places vesicle-templated nanocapsules among the thinnest materials ever created. The extreme thinness of the shells has implications for several areas: mass-transport through pores in the shell is relatively unimpeded; pore-forming molecules are not limited to those spanning the entire bilayer; the internal volume of the capsules is maximized; and insight has been gained on how polymerization occurs in the confined geometry of a bilayer scaffold, being predominantly located at the phase-separated layer of monomers and crosslinkers between the surfactant leaflets.
Citation
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Volume
8
Issue
15

Keywords

small angle neutron scattering, ultrathin membranes, two-dimensional polymers, directed assembly, confined polymerization.

Citation

Richter, A. , Dergunov, S. , Kim, M. , Shmakov, S. , Pingali, S. , Urban, V. , Liu, Y. and Pinkhassik, E. (2017), Unraveling the Single-Nanometer Thickness of Shells of Vesicle-Templated Polymer Nanocapsules, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=923581 (Accessed November 30, 2023)
Created August 2, 2017, Updated October 12, 2021