Novel mini-reactor of silicone oil droplets for synthesis of morphology-controlled polymer particles

Daisuke Nagao, Tatsuya Ohta, Haruyuki Ishii, Arnout Imhof, Mikio Konno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Inside spaces of emulsion droplets can be used as mini-reactors for material synthesis. The novel application of sol-gel derived silicone oil droplets as mini-reactors was examined for the case of polymerization of styrene (St) and comonomers with the oil-soluble initiator 2,2′-azobis(2,4- dimethylvaleronitrile). Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) droplets prepared from dimethylsiloxane were used as the mini-reactors, in which the polymerization of St without comonomers was first conducted. In the polymerization, the St/PDMS volume ratio was varied from 0.025 to 0.10. After the polymerization, each PDMS droplet contained a polystyrene (PSt) particle. The St/PDMS ratio of 0.05 enabled the synthesis of micrometer-sized, spherical PSt particles with low polydispsersity. Copolymerization of St with comonomers having hydrophilic groups deformed the spherical shape of particles to lens-like or disk-like morphologies that were obtained with acrylic acid or sodium 4-styrene sulfonate, respectively. In another copolymerization, with divinylbenzene used as a cross-linker, hemispherical polymer particles were formed. To diversify the particle morphologies further, the proposed mini-reactor synthesis was combined with the recently proposed silicone oil droplet templating method (Ohta et al., 2012). Around the PDMS droplets containing a polymer particle, polymeric shells with a depression were successfully formed with the proposed method. The remaining PDMS oil inside the polymeric shells was extracted with ethanol, which caused hemispherical polymeric bowl-shaped capsules having a protrusion on the inside.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17642-17646
Number of pages5
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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