On the Stability of Polymeric Nanoparticles Fabricated through Rapid Solvent Mixing

Tatiana I. Morozova, Victoria E. Lee, Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos, Robert Krafft Prud'homme, Rodney D. Priestley, Arash Nikoubashman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We study the stability of polymeric nanoparticles fabricated through the rapid mixing of polymers in a good solvent with a poor solvent that is miscible with the good solvent. In previous experiments where water was used as the poor solvent, a negative surface charge was measured on the precipitated nanoparticles, which led to the long-time stability of the dispersion. It was argued that these charges originate presumably from either water or hydroxide adsorption at the hydrophobic nanoparticle surface or from impurities in the feed streams that preferentially adsorb on the precipitated nanoparticles. To elucidate the origin of this stabilization mechanism, we performed experiments wherein we replaced water with a nonpolar poor solvent. The polymers aggregated into stable nanoparticles for a range of processing parameters. We investigated theoretically three possible explanations for this stability, i.e., electrostatic stabilization, conditional thermodynamic equilibrium, and steric stabilization. Our experiments and considerations suggest that steric stabilization is the most likely candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 22 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry


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