Particles with Tunable Porosity and Morphology by Controlling Interfacial Instability in Block Copolymer Emulsions
A series of porous block copolymer (BCP) particles with controllable morphology and pore sizes was fabricated by tuning the interfacial behavior of BCP droplets in oil-in-water emulsions. A synergistic adsorption of polystyrene-b-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) BCPs and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) to the surface of the emulsion droplet induced a dramatic decrease in the interfacial tension and generated interfacial instability at the particle surface. In particular, the SDS concentration and the P4VP volume fraction of PS-b-P4VP were key parameters in determining the degree of interfacial instability, leading to different types of particles including micelles, capsules, closed-porosity particles, and open-porosity particles with tunable pore sizes ranging from 10 to 500 nm. The particles with open-porosity could be used as pH-responsive, high capacity delivery systems where the uptake and release of multiple dyes could be achieved.