Unified scaling of the structure and loading of nanoparticles formed via diffusion-limited coalescence
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofLangmuir ; vol. 34, no. 20, pp. 5772-5780.
Publisher(s)American Chemical Society
The present study establishes the scaling laws describing the structure of spherical nanoparticles formed by diffusion-limited coalescence. We produced drug-loaded nanoparticles from a poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(d,l-lactic acid) diblock polymer (PEG-b-PLA) by the nanoprecipitation method using different types of micromixing chambers to explore multiple mixing regimes and characteristic times. We first show that the drug loading of the nanoparticles is not controlled by the mixing time but solely by the drug-to-polymer ratio (D:P) in the feed and the hydrophobicity of the drug scaled via the partition coefficient P. We then procure compelling evidence that particles formed via diffusion/coalescence exhibit a relative distribution of PEG blocks between the particle core and its shell that depends only on mixing conditions (not on D:P). Scaling laws of PEG relative distribution and chain surface density were derived in different mixing regimes and showed excellent agreement with experimental data. In particular, results made evident that PEG blocks entrapment in the core of the particles occurs in the slow-mixing regime and favors the overloading (above the thermodynamic limit) of the particles with hydrophilic drugs. The present analysis compiles effective guidelines for the scale up of nanoparticles structure and properties with mixing conditions, which should facilitate their future translation to medical and industrial settings.