Stearic and oleic acid-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles were dispersed in decahydronaphthalene (DN). This oil phase was dispersed in water using ternary graft copolymer poly(glycidyl methacrylate)-graft- [polystyrene-ran-(methoxy polyethylene glycol)-ran-poly(2-cinnamoyloxyethyl methacrylate)] or PGMA-g-(PS-r-MPEG-r-PCEMA) to yield capsules. The walls of these capsules were composed of PCEMA chains that were soluble in neither water nor DN, and the DN-soluble PS chains stretched into the droplet phase and the water-soluble MPEG chains extended into the aqueous phase. Structurally stable capsules were prepared by photolyzing the capsules with UV light to cross-link the PCEMA layer. Both the magnetite particles and the magnetite-containing capsules were superparamagnetic. The sizes of the capsules increased as they were loaded with more magnetite nanoparticles, reaching a maximal loading of ∼0.5 mg of ligated magnetite nanoparticles per mg of copolymer. But the radii of the capsules were always <100 nm. Thus, a novel nanomaterial- superparamagnetic-oil-filled polymer nanocapsules-was prepared. The more heavily loaded capsules were readily captured by a magnet and could be redispersed via shaking. Although the cross-linked capsules survived this capturing and redispersing treatment many times, the un-cross-linked capsules ruptured after four cycles. These results suggest the potential to tailor-make capsules with tunable wall stability for magnetically controlled release applications.
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