Master assignment - Size-controlled Formation of Poly(Amido Amine) Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles have a wide variety of biomedical applications, for example: drug carriers and contrast agents for medical imaging. These nanoparticles are required to be biocompatible. At the department of Controlled Drug Delivery synthesis and application of poly(amido amine)s (PAAs) is an important topic of research.1–3 PAAs are a versatile, water-soluble and biocompatible class of polymers, whose structure mimics that of peptides. PAA nanoparticles can be formed by an inverse nanoprecipitation method,4 as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: General process of inverse nanoprecipitation. The PAA is dissolved in water and added to a non-solvent, which contains the crosslinker. After the reaction has been completed the non-solvent is removed and the particles are purified.

Aim of the Project

PAAs will be synthesized and used to gain insight into the nanoprecipitiation process. The experimental conditions will be altered to gain control over the particle size. This can be done by varying the PAA concentration, the crosslinker concentration and the amount of solvent used. The type of non-solvent used is also an important factor in the nanoparticle formation process. The combination of all these parameters will be researched to obtain control over the nanoparticle size. The final goal is to fabricate a set of PAA nanoparticles with a range of different, well-defined size distributions, which can be applied in drug delivery or as a carrier for contrast agents5,6.


Functional PAAs will be synthesized and nanoparticles of different sizes will be formed by varying the PAA concentration, the amount of solvent & non-solvent and by changing the non-solvent used in the process. The polymers will be characterized by NMR and GPC, and the nanoparticles will be characterized by Dynamic Light Scattering, Atomic Force Microscopy and Electron Microscopy.

Contact information

Tony Ekkelenkamp - Department of Controlled Drug Delivery
Phone: 053 - 489 2988
Room: ZH 244


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(2) Lin, C.; Zhong, Z.; Lok, M. C.; Jiang, X.; Hennink, W. E.; Feijen, J.; Engbersen, J. F. J. J. Control. release 2006, 116, 130–7.

(3) Martello, F.; Piest, M.; Engbersen, J. F. J.; Ferruti, P. J. Control. release 2012, 164, 372–9.

(4) Steinhilber, D.; Witting, M.; Zhang, X.; Staegemann, M.; Paulus, F.; Friess, W.; Küchler, S.; Haag, R. J. Control. Release 2013, 169, 289–95.

(5) Elsabahy, M.; Wooley, K. L. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2012, 41, 2545–61.

(6) Oh, J. K.; Drumright, R.; Siegwart, D. J.; Matyjaszewski, K. Prog. Polym. Sci. 2008, 33, 448–477.