Multicompartment dendrimicelles with binary, ternary and quaternary core composition

Rebecca Kaup, Jan Bart Ten Hove, Anton Bunschoten, Fijs W.B. Van Leeuwen, Aldrik H. Velders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Hierarchically built-up multicompartment nanoaggregate systems are of interest for, e.g., novel materials and medicine. Here we present a versatile strategy to generate and unambiguously characterize complex coacervate-core micelles by exploiting four different dendrimeric subcomponents as core-units. The resulting mesoscale structures have a hydrodynamic diameter of 50 nm and a core size of 33 nm, and host about thirty 6th generation polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers. We have used FRET (efficiency of ∼0.2) between fluorescein and rhodamine moieties immobilized on separate PAMAM dendrimers (G6-F and G6-R, respectively) to prove synchronous encapsulation in the micelle core. Tuning the proximity of the FRET pair molecules either by varying the G6-F : G6-R ratio, or by co-assembling non-functionalized dendrimer (G6-E) in the core, reveals the optimal FRET efficiency to occur at a minimum of 70% loading with G6-F and G6-R. Additional co-encapsulation of 6th generation gold dendrimer-encapsulated nanoparticles (G6-Au) in the micelle core shows a dramatic reduction of the FRET efficiency, which can be restored by chemical etching of the gold nanoparticles from within the micellar core with thiols, leaving the micelle itself intact. This study reveals the controlled co-assembly of up to four different types of subcomponents in one single micellar core and concomitantly shows the wide variety of structures that can be made with a well-defined basic set of subcomponents. It is straightforward to design related strategies, to incorporate inside one micellar core, e.g., even more than 4 different dendrimers, or other classes of (macro)molecules, with different functional groups, other FRET pairs or different encapsulated metal nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15422-15430
Number of pages9
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2021


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