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Enhancing the stability of spontaneously self-assembled vesicles - the effect of polymer architecture

Bressel, Katharina; Gradzielski, Michael

The formation of stable vesicles with a controlled size and high stability is an important matter due to their wide application in pharmaceutical and detergency formulations and as drug delivery vehicles. One can control the size of spontaneously formed vesicles in mixtures of zwitterionic and anionic surfactants by the admixture of small amounts of an amphiphilic copolymer of the PEO-PPO-PEO type. Of course, this effect should depend largely on the molecular architecture of the copolymer employed which was varied systematically in this work, and the temporal evolution of aggregate size and final structure was followed by means of DLS and three main effects could be observed. First the size of the formed vesicles is the larger the higher the molecular weight (MW) of the polymer and the higher the polymer concentration. Secondly the amount of copolymer required to induce long time stability is inversely proportional to the fraction of PEO in the polymer. Finally the architecture for a given MW and PEO/PPO ratio has no effect on the vesicle structure but their structure is directly controlled by the length of the PPO block of the copolymer. Thereby by appropriate choice of type and amount of PEO-PPO-PEO copolymer one can exert comprehensive control over size and stability of unilamellar vesicles.
Published in: Soft matter, 10.1039/c4sm02746a, Royal Society of Chemistry