Single microgel degradation governed by heterogeneous nanostructures†
Although the degradation of colloidal particles is one of the most attractive phenomena in the field of biological and environmental science, the degradation mechanism of single particles remains to be elucidated. In this study, in order to clarify the impact of the structure of a single particle on the oxidative degradation processes, thermoresponsive colloidal particles with chemical cleavage points were synthesized as a model, and their degradation behavior was evaluated using high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) as well as conventional scattering techniques. The real-time observation of single-particle degradation revealed that the degradation behavior of microgels is governed by their inhomogeneous nanostructure, which originates from the polymerization method and their hydrophilicity. Our findings can be expected to advance the design of carriers for drug-delivery and the understanding of the formation processes of micro (nano)plastics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Polymer Networks