ACS nano

One-Step Generation of Multifunctional Polyelectrolyte Microcapsules via Nanoscale Interfacial Complexation in Emulsion (NICE).

PMID 26172934


Polyelectrolyte microcapsules represent versatile stimuli-responsive structures that enable the encapsulation, protection, and release of active agents. Their conventional preparation methods, however, tend to be time-consuming, yield low encapsulation efficiency, and seldom allow for the dual incorporation of hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials, limiting their widespread utilization. In this work, we present a method to fabricate stimuli-responsive polyelectrolyte microcapsules in one step based on nanoscale interfacial complexation in emulsions (NICE) followed by spontaneous droplet hatching. NICE microcapsules can incorporate both hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials and also can be induced to trigger the release of encapsulated materials by changes in the solution pH or ionic strength. We also show that NICE microcapsules can be functionalized with nanomaterials to exhibit useful functionality, such as response to a magnetic field and disassembly in response to light. NICE represents a potentially transformative method to prepare multifunctional nanoengineered polyelectrolyte microcapsules for various applications such as drug delivery and cell mimicry.

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