Unraveling the Single-Nanometer Thickness of Shells of Vesicle-Templated Polymer Nanocapsules
Andrew G.. Richter, Sergey A. Dergunov, Mariya D. Kim, Sergey N. Shmakov, Sai Venkatesh Pingali, Volker S. Urban, Yun Liu, Eugene Pinkhassik
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.
, Dergunov, S.
, Kim, M.
, Shmakov, S.
, Pingali, S.
, Urban, V.
, Liu, Y.
and Pinkhassik, E.
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)