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Effect of Nanoparticle Surface Chemistry on Adsorption and Fluid Phase Partitioning in Aqueous/Toluene and Cellular Systems

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Copolymers of di(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (x = MeO2MA) and oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (y = OEGMA) display lower critical solution phenomena in aqueous systems that are tunable by the copolymer ratio (x:y), ionic strength, and temperature. These properties enable tuning the hydrophobicity of macromolecular systems by variation of (x:y). For nanoparticles stabilized with these macromolecules, this provides a systematic approach to understanding the impact of surface chemistry, specifically hydrophobicity, on the equilibrium and transport properties of nanomaterials in biphasic systems. We synthesized a homologous series of gold nanoparticles capped by these copolymers, Au@(MeO2MA x -co-OEGMA y ). By varying the copolymer 95:5 <(x:y) < 80:20 ratio, we studied the effect of surface hydrophobicity on the nanoparticle equilibrium adsorption isotherm and phase transfer at the aqueous-toluene interface. The increase in hydrophobicity from (x:y)= 80:20 to (x:y)= 95:5 is accompanied by an increase in the fractional coverage of the aqueous-toluene interface from f = 0.3 to f >1, or multilayer adsorption and an increase in the characteristic adsorption timescale from τD = 31 to τD = 450 seconds. The equilibrium partition coefficient for the aqueous/toluene systems, KT /W is also a strong function of (x:y), increasing from KT /W (80:20) = 0.7 to KT /W (95:5) = 9.8. We also observed an increase in cellular uptake for increasing (x:y) suggesting that surface chemistry alone plays a significant role in intercellular transport processes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2015

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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