One-step microwave preparation of well-defined and functionalized polymeric nanoparticles.

graphical abstract
An, Z.S.; Tang, W.; Hawker, C.J.; Stucky, G.D.;
J. Am. Chem. Soc.,
128, 15054-15055.

Well-defined colloidal polymeric nanoparticles are important in advanced biomedical and optical technologies. We report a facile microwave methodology to prepare narrowly dispersed cross-linked polymeric nanoparticles at high solids content through a surfactant-free emulsion polymerization process. The nanoparticle size was controlled by using cross-linkers with enhanced reactivity through a one-step microwaving process, significantly simplifying the nanoparticle synthetic process. The successful size control was realized by confining the cross-linking to intraparticle cross-linking rather than interparticle cross-linking. We also discovered that the superheating/dielectric heating effect associated with microwave irradiation could be utilized to effectively reduce the nanoparticle size.