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Issue 36, 2017
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Hybrid mesoporous silica nanocarriers with thermovalve-regulated controlled release

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Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are excellent nanocarriers, featuring very high cargo capacity due to their large surface area and pore volume. The particle and pore dimensions can be accurately tuned, and both the internal and external surfaces allow versatile functionalization. We developed hybrid MSNs with diameters around 140 nm, with the external surface selectively modified with a temperature-responsive biocompatible copolymer to control cargo release. The nanoparticles feature either a polymer brush or a gel-like responsive shell, produced by grafting from RAFT polymerization of PEG-acrylate macromonomers. The hybrid nanoparticles have fluorescent molecules incorporated into the inorganic network providing excellent optical properties for traceability and imaging. The cargo release profiles are explained by a temperature-controlled “pumping” mechanism: at low temperature (ca. 20 °C) the polymer shell is hydrophilic and expanded, opposing cargo diffusion out of the shell and retaining the molecules released from the mesopores; above room temperature (ca. 40–50 °C) the polymer network becomes more hydrophobic and collapses onto the silica surface, releasing the cargo by a sponge-like squeezing effect. The release kinetics depends on the polymer shell type, with better results obtained for the gel-coated nanoparticles. Our proof-of-concept system shows that by modulating the temperature, it is possible to achieve a pumping regime that increases the release rate in a controlled way.

Graphical abstract: Hybrid mesoporous silica nanocarriers with thermovalve-regulated controlled release

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 May 2017, accepted on 11 Aug 2017 and first published on 01 Sep 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR03395H
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 13485-13494
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    Hybrid mesoporous silica nanocarriers with thermovalve-regulated controlled release

    T. Ribeiro, E. Coutinho, A. S. Rodrigues, C. Baleizão and J. P. S. Farinha, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 13485
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR03395H

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