pH-Sensitive amphiphilic block-copolymers for transport and controlled release of oxygen†
Saturated fluorocarbons, their derivatives and emulsions are capable of dissolving anomalously high amounts of oxygen and other gases. The mechanistic aspects of this remarkable effect remain to be explored experimentally. Here, the synthesis of a library of amphiphilic fluorous block-copolymers incorporating different fluorinated monomers is described, and the capacity of these copolymers for oxygen transport in water is systematically investigated. The structure of the fluorous monomer employed was found to have a profound effect on both the oxygen-carrying capacity and the gas release kinetics of the polymer emulsions. Furthermore, the release of O2 from the polymer dispersions could be triggered by changing the pH of the solution. This is the first example of a polymer-based system for controlled release of a non-polar, non-covalently entrapped respiratory gas.