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Issue 9, 2019
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Faceted polymersomes: a sphere-to-polyhedron shape transformation

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Abstract

The creation of “soft” deformable hollow polymeric nanoparticles with complex non-spherical shapes via block copolymer self-assembly remains a challenge. In this work, we show that a perylene-bearing block copolymer can self-assemble into polymeric membrane sacs (polymersomes) that not only possess uncommonly faceted polyhedral shapes but are also intrinsically fluorescent. Here, we further reveal for the first time an experimental visualization of the entire polymersome faceting process. We uncover how our polymersomes facet through a sphere-to-polyhedron shape transformation pathway that is driven by perylene aggregation confined within a topologically spherical polymersome shell. Finally, we illustrate the importance in understanding this shape transformation process by demonstrating our ability to controllably isolate different intermediate polymersome morphologies. The findings presented herein should provide opportunities for those who utilize non-spherical polymersomes for drug delivery, nanoreactor or templating applications, and those who are interested in the fundamental aspects of polymersome self-assembly.

Graphical abstract: Faceted polymersomes: a sphere-to-polyhedron shape transformation

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Sep 2018, accepted on 09 Jan 2019 and first published on 10 Jan 2019


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04206C
Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 2725-2731
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Faceted polymersomes: a sphere-to-polyhedron shape transformation

    C. K. Wong, A. D. Martin, M. Floetenmeyer, R. G. Parton, M. H. Stenzel and P. Thordarson, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 2725
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04206C

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