Polymer Science and Engineering
Self-assembled molecular nanostructures embody an enormous potential for new technologies, therapeutics, and understanding of molecular biofunctions. Their structure and function are dependent on local environments, necessitating in-situ/operando investigations for the biggest leaps in discovery and design. However, the most advanced of such investigations involve laborious labeling methods that can disrupt behavior or are not fast enough to capture stimuli-responsive phenomena. We utilize X-rays resonant with molecular bonds to demonstrate an in-situ nanoprobe that eliminates the need for labels and enables data collection times within seconds. Our analytical spectral model quantifies the structure, molecular composition, and dynamics of a copolymer micelle drug delivery platform using resonant soft X-rays. We additionally apply this technique to a hydrocarbon sequestrating polysoap micelle and discover that the critical organic-capturing domain does not coalesce upon aggregation but retains distinct single-molecule cores. This characteristic promotes its efficiency of hydrocarbon sequestration for applications like oil spill remediation and drug delivery. Such a technique enables operando, chemically sensitive investigations of any aqueous molecular nanostructure, label-free.
(2021). Label-Free Characterization of Organic Nanocarriers Reveals Persistent Single Molecule Cores For Hydrocarbon Sequestration. Nature Communications, 12(1).
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/18804