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Anisotropic polymer nanoparticles with solvent and temperature dependent shape and size from triblock copolymers

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2021, 11:44 authored by Elena Bobbi, Bassem Sabagh, Sally-Ann CryanSally-Ann Cryan, James A Wilson, Andreas HeiseAndreas Heise
A nanoparticle system was designed able to modify its shape and size independently by the insertion of differently responsive units in a single synthetic block copolymer. The system is obtained from the self-assembly of triblock copolymers synthesized by combining reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) and ethylene glycol acrylate with ring-opening polymerization of γ-benzyl-l-glutamate (BLG) N-carboxyanhydride (NCA). The synthesis of triblock copolymers with different block length ratios is achieved from the poly(NIPAM) middle block followed by double chain extension including intermediate deprotection steps. All reaction products and intermediates are characterized by size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Particles are obtained from triblock copolymers by solvent exchange procedures yielding either spherical or anisotropic elongated particles. The anisotropic particle shapes are confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging for dry samples and multi-detector asymmetric flow field flow fractionation (AF4) of selected samples which reveals the coexistence of spherical and elongated particles in solution. Moreover, the presence of a middle poly(NIPAM) block allows to modulate the size depending on the solution temperature.


Translational Research in Nanomedical Devices (TREND) project, funded by a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Program (grant code 13/IA/1840)

European Regional Development Fund under grant number 13/RC/2073

European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no 713,690



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Bobbi E, Sabagh B, Cryan SA, Wilson JA, Heise A. Anisotropic polymer nanoparticles with solvent and temperature dependent shape and size from triblock copolymers. Polymer Chemistry. 2019;10(25):3436-3443.

Publication Date

15 April 2019


  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • Chemistry
  • Cu00daRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices
  • RCSI Tissue Engineering Group (TERG)
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

Research Area

  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)