pH-Responsive nanocapsules from silylated copolymers†
We introduce here a concept allowing the synthesis of smart nanocapsules without a surfactant. Copolymers with masked carboxylic acid groups are desilylated during the nanocapsule preparation and this leads to pH-responsive and self-stabilized nanocontainers encapsulating a large amount of hydrophobic substances. The nanocapsules can be either disrupted for release applications or reversibly aggregated by lowering the pH of the dispersion. The concentration of the nanocapsules in water can be increased by more than 6 times by isolating the nanocontainers at low pH and re-dispersing them at high pH values.