Celebrating Soft Matter's 10th Anniversary: Influencing the charge of poly(methyl methacrylate) latexes in nonpolar solvents
Sterically-stabilized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) latexes dispersed in nonpolar solvents are a classic, well-studied system in colloid science. This is because they can easily be synthesized with a narrow size distribution and because they interact essentially as hard spheres. These PMMA latexes can be charged using several methods (by adding surfactants, incorporating ionizable groups, or dispersing in autoionizable solvents), and due to the low relative permittivity of the solvents (εr ≈ 2 for alkanes to εr ≈ 8 for halogenated solvents), the charges have long-range interactions. The number of studies of these PMMA particles as charged species has increased over the past ten years, after few studies immediately following their discovery. A large number of variations in both the physical and chemical properties of the system (size, concentration, surfactant type, or solvent, as a few examples) have been studied by many groups. By considering the literature on these particles as a whole, it is possible to determine the variables that have an effect on the charge of particles. An understanding of the process of charge formation will add to understanding how to control charge in nonaqueous solvents as well as make it possible to develop improved technologically relevant applications for charged polymer nanoparticles.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating Soft Matter’s 10th Anniversary