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Issue 9, 2018
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Solvent-free and biocompatible multiphased organic–inorganic hybrid nanocomposites

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Biocompatible chemically cross-linked organic–inorganic (O–I) hybrid nanocomposites were developed using a new atoxic, simple and fast, solvent-free pathway. Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), which are both biocompatible, were used as the organic moieties (at different PCL/PEG ratios), while in situ synthesized polysilsesquioxanes made up the inorganic moiety. The O–I hybrid nanocomposites’ molecular structures were characterized using solid-state 29Si NMR, TGA and ATR-IR. Results showed an unusually high condensation yield of approximately 90% and two distinct silsesquioxane structures. No traces of the remaining isocyanate groups were found. Advanced morphological characterization of the ternary O–I hybrids was performed using a combination of electron microscopy and X-ray scattering techniques such as SEM, TEM, ESI-TEM, WAXS and temperature-dependent SAXS. Results showed the occurrence of spherical nanoparticles, associated with polysilsesquioxane, and ordered network grains, associated with PCL and/or PEG chains cross-linked by silsesquioxane cages. As a consequence, a four-phased nanostructured morphology was proposed. In this model, PCL and PEG are undistinguishable, while polysilsesquioxane nanoparticles are uniformly distributed throughout a homogeneous cross-linked matrix, which shows gel-like behavior. Moreover, a mobile phase made up of unbound polymer chains occurs at the grain interface.

Graphical abstract: Solvent-free and biocompatible multiphased organic–inorganic hybrid nanocomposites

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Supplementary files

Article information

28 Dec 2017
30 Jan 2018
First published
31 Jan 2018

Soft Matter, 2018,14, 1709-1718
Article type

Solvent-free and biocompatible multiphased organic–inorganic hybrid nanocomposites

L. C. E. da Silva, L. G. L. Germiniani, T. S. Plivelic and M. C. Gonçalves, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 1709
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02547E

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