Silica-polypeptide composite particles: controlling shell growth

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A method is presented for preparing core-shell silica-polypeptide composite particles with variable and controllable shell growth. The procedure is demonstrated using poly(carbobenzoxy-L-lysine) and poly(benzyl-L-glutamate); after deprotection, these can lead to the most common basic and acidic homopolypeptides, poly(L-lysine) and poly(L-glutamic acid). Control over shell thickness is made possible by sequential addition of N-carboxyanhydride peptide monomer to surfaces that have been functionalized with an amino initiator combined with a surface passivation agent. This results in a series of particles having different shell thicknesses. Variation of shell thickness was evident both in light scattering and in thermogravimetric assays. The shells were visible by transmission electron microscopy; these images along with light scattering measurements suggest the polymers in the shells are highly solvated.

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Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

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