Size-tunable nanoparticle synthesis by RAFT polymerization in CO <inf>2</inf>-induced miniemulsions

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Journal Article
Macromolecules, 2012, 45 (4), pp. 1803 - 1810
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A novel environmentally friendly low-energy emulsification method that relies on pressurization with CO 2 to low pressure has been applied to reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization of styrene-in-water miniemulsions with the anionic surfactant Dowfax 8390. This method circumvents traditional high-energy homogenization, and over a certain CO 2 pressure range, a transparent miniemulsion is formed. RAFT polymerization of styrene using benzyldodecyl trithiocarbonate and the aqueous phase initiator VA-044 was carried out successfully in CO 2-induced miniemulsions at 50 °C with good control/livingness. Interestingly, the particle size could be conveniently tuned via the CO 2 pressure without altering the recipe, with 6.00, 6.50, and 7.50 MPa generating number-average particle diameters of 98, 89, and 48 nm, respectively, at ∼70% conversion. The smallest particle size corresponded to the pressure range within which the emulsion was transparent. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
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