Complex coacervation core micelles. Colloidal stability and aggregation mechanism

S. van der Burgh, A. de Keizer, M.A. Cohen Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

175 Citations (Scopus)


Complex coacervation core micelles were prepared with various polyelectrolytes and oppositely charged diblock copolymers. The diblock copolymers consist of a charged block and a water-soluble neutral block. Our experimental technique was dynamic light scattering in combination with titrations. At mixing ratios where the excess charge of the polyelectrolyte mixture is approximately zero, micelles may be formed. The colloidal stability of these micelles depends on the block lengths of the diblock copolymers and the molecular weight of the homopolymers. In addition, the chemical nature of the corona blocks and nature of the ionic groups of the polyelectrolytes also influence the stability and aggregation mechanism. A corona block that is three times longer than the core block is a prerequisite for stable micelles. If this ratio is further increased, the molecular weight of the homopolymers as well as the type of the ionic groups starts to play a major role. With very asymmetric block length ratios, no micelles are formed. In addition, if the neutral block is too short, the polymeric mixture forms a macroscopic precipitate. With a constant core block, the aggregation number decreases with increasing corona block length, as is predicted by scaling models for polymeric micelles with a neutral corona.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1084
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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