RAFT dispersion polymerization of glycidyl methacrylate for the synthesis of epoxy-functional block copolymer nanoparticles in mineral oil†
Epoxy-functional poly(stearyl methacrylate)-poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (PSMA-PGlyMA) diblock copolymer nanoparticles are synthesized via reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) dispersion polymerization of glycidyl methacrylate (GlyMA) in mineral oil at 70 °C. This efficient polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) formulation yields well-defined spheres of tunable diameter as confirmed by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies. 1H NMR spectroscopy and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) studies indicate that such non-polar dispersions exhibit greater stability during their long-term storage at 20 °C compared to related epoxy-functional nanoparticles prepared via RAFT aqueous emulsion polymerization. Model epoxy-amine ring-opening reactions using N-methylaniline demonstrate the potential for post-polymerization functionalization of such spherical nanoparticles.