, 14:668
Date: 11 Jan 2012

Encapsulation and controlled release from core–shell nanoparticles fabricated by plasma polymerization

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Core–shell nanostructures have been synthesized by plasma deposition in radio-frequency plasma reactor. Silica and KCl nanoparticles were encapsulated by deposition of isopropanol-based films of amorphous hydrogenated carbon. Through control of the deposition time, under constant deposition rate of 1 nm/min, particles are encapsulated in a layer of plasma polymer with thickness between 15 and 100 nm. Films are robust, chemically inert, thermally stable up to 250°C. The permeability of the shells is determined by depositing films of various thickness onto KCl nanoparticles and monitoring the dissolution of the core in aqueous solution. The dissolution profile is characterized by an initial rapid release, followed by a slow release that lasts up to 30 days for the thickest films. The profile is analyzed by Fickian diffusion through a spherical matrix. We find that this model captures very accurately the entire release profile except for the first 12 hours during which, the dissolution rate is higher than that predicted by the model. The overall diffusion coefficient for the dissolution of KCl is 3 × 10−21 m2/s.