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An experimental study on emulsion polymerization for formation of monodisperse particles smaller than 50 nm

Abstract

Selections of surfactants and their concentrations are both critical factors in emulsion polymerization for preparation of polymer nanoparticles with low polydispersity (i.e., low coefficient of variation of particle sizes, CV). Our previous report revealed that employment of an anionic surfactant of sodium octadecyl sulfate (SOS), which has a critical micellization concentration (CMC) much lower than sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) commonly used in conventional emulsion polymerization, is very effective for reducing particle sizes without deteriorating their monodispersity. However, the mechanism on formation of small polymer particles with low polydispersity was still not clarified in the previous report. In this report, the number (NP) and CV of polymer nanoparticles formed in the polymerization of styrene (St) using SOS were compared with the conventional polymerization using SDS in a wide range of surfactant concentrations including both their CMCs. The comparisons in NP and CV were also performed in copolymerizations with methylmethacrylate (MMA) less hydrophobic than St. These experimental comparisons in NP and CV have rationalized the St/MMA copolymerization using a low-CMC surfactant highly suitable for attaining the formation of nanoparticles with low polydispersity.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the technical support staff in the department of Engineering, Tohoku University, for the measurements. This research was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 16K06841, 17H02744, 20K21097, and Materials Processing Science project (“Materealize”) of MEXT, Grant Number JPMXP0219192801).

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Correspondence to Daisuke Nagao.

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Ishii, H., Nakazawa, H., Kuwasaki, N. et al. An experimental study on emulsion polymerization for formation of monodisperse particles smaller than 50 nm. Colloid Polym Sci 300, 397–405 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00396-022-04942-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00396-022-04942-w

Keywords

  • Monodisperse
  • Nanoparticles
  • Emulsion polymerization