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Polyethylene Nano Crystalsome Formed at Curved Liquid/Liquid Interface

Abstract

Crystallization is incommensurate with nanoscale curved space due to the lack of three dimensional translational symmetry of the latter. Herein we report the formation of single-crystal-like, nanosized polyethylene (PE) capsules using a miniemulsion solution crystallization method. Miniemulsion was formed at elevated temperatures using PE organic solution as the oil phase and sodium dodecyl sulfate as the surfactant. Subsequently cooling the system stepwisely for controlled crystallization led to the formation of hollow, nanosized PE crystalline capsules, which are named as crystalsomes since they mimic the classical self-assembled structures such as liposome, polymersome and colloidosome. We show that the formation of the nanosized PE crystalsomes is driven by controlled crystallization at the curved liquid/liquid interface of the miniemulson droplet. The morphology, structure and mechanical properties of the PE crystalsomes were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and atomic force spectroscopy. Electron diffraction showed the single-crystal-like nature of the crystalsomes. The incommensurateness between the nanocurved interface and the crystalline packing led to reduced crystallinity and crystallite size of the PE crystalsom as observed from the X-ray diffraction measurements. Moreover, directly quenching the emuilsion below the spinodal line led to the formation of hierarchical porous PE crystalsomes due to the coupling of the PE crysatllization and liquid/liquid phase separation. We anticipate that this unique crystalsome represents a new type of nanostructure that might be used as nanodrug carriers and ultrasound contrast agents.

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Publication details

The article was accepted on 13 Nov 2017 and first published on 14 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08106E
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Polyethylene Nano Crystalsome Formed at Curved Liquid/Liquid Interface

    W. Wang, M. C. Staub, T. Zhou, D. Smith, H. Qi, E. Laird, S. Cheng and C. Li, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08106E

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