Multilobular morphology: the key for biphase multitask nanogels
Nanogels have a leading role in controlled release systems because they offer high water retention resulting in high loading capabilities, stability in biological fluids and biocompatibility. In this scenario, every tool that allows extending nanogels properties and expanding their potential applications are of high interest in the field of biomedicine. This article aims to contribute to the development of multitasking nanogels, based on the combination of two polymer phases in a multilobular morphology. The synthesized multilobed nanogels (mLNGs) presented a core of crosslinked poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PVCL) and a shell formed by 3-D distributed lobes of a low Tg copolymer. This particular multilobular morphology is able to exploit the synergetic contribution of both phases. While the PVCL-based core conferred its characteristic thermal response and the ability to load and release a cargo molecule, the low Tg lobes incorporated the capability of film forming. Moreover, the multilobular arrangement of NGs allows films an unrestricted mass transfer. The development of mLNGs morphology and the effect of synthesis parameters were deeply studied with the help of a previously developed mathematical model for the dynamic evolution of particle morphology. Finally, this study provides, for the first time, the synthesis of two-phase nanogels with multilobular morphology and underlines their potential as a candidate for control delivery platforms.