Temperature response of soft ionizable polymer nanoparticles

S Wijesinghe and D Perahia and GS Grest, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 149, 084903 (2018).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5043226

The temperature response of luminescent ionizable polymers confined into far from equilibrium nanoparticles without chemical links was studied using molecular dynamics simulations. These nanoparticles, often referred to as polydots, are emerging as a promising tool for nanomedicine. Incorporating ionizable groups into these polymers enables biofunctionality; however, they also affect the delicate balance of interactions that hold these nanoparticles together. Here polydots formed by a model polymer dialkyl p-phenylene ethynylene with varying number of carboxylate groups along the polymer backbone were probed. We find that increasing temperature affects neutral and charged polydots differently, where neutral polydots exhibit a transition above which their structure becomes dynamic and they unravel. The dependence of the transition temperature on the surface to volume ratio of these polydots is much stronger than what has previously been observed in polymeric thin films. Charged polydots become dynamic enabling migration of the ionizable groups toward the particle interface, while retaining the overall particle shape. Published by AIP Publishing.

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