Zhang, W.; Kochovski, Z.; Lu, Y.; Schmidt, B.V.K.J.; Antonietti, M.; Yuan, J.: Internal Morphology-Controllable Self-Assembly in Poly(lonic Liquid) Nanoparticles. ACS Nano 10 (2016), p. 7731-7737
Precise control of the interior and outer shapes of polymer nanoparticles has found broad interest in nanosciences, for example, in fundamental studies of their physical properties, colloidal behavior, and corresponding applications. Realizing such control below the 50 nm scale (i.e., a size scale close to individual polymer chains) requires accurate manipulation of polymerization techniques and a judicious choice of the chemical structure in monomers and/or polymers. Here, we constructed a series of well-defined sub-50 nm homopolymer nanoparticles with controllable shape and highly ordered, complex internal structures with sub-5 nm domain spacings, starting from 1-vinyl-1,2,4-triazolium-type ionic liquids in a one-pot dispersion polymerization. With cryogenic electron microscopy and tomography, a morphological evolution of particle shape and interior at this extremely small size end, unusual for polymer colloids, was identified and investigated in detail.