Photoswitchable nanocarrier with reversible encapsulation properties

Peng Fei Cao, Zhe Su, Al De Leon, Rigoberto C. Advincula*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


An amphiphilic dendritic polymer with polyethylenimine (PEI) as the hydrophilic core, steric ester (STA) as the hydrophobic shell, and azobenzene (AZO) groups as the photoswitchable moieties was synthesized via amidation reaction. The synthesized dendritic macromolecule was characterized by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), FT-IR spectroscopy, and dynamic light scattering (DLS). With alternating UV and visible-light irradiation, azobenzene moieties of polyethylenimine-steric ester-azobenzene (PEI-STA-AZO) undergo a reversible isomerization between the cis and trans state. The encapsulation tests demonstrated that PEI-STA-AZO with trans-isomer is not capable of encapsulating anionic guests, whereas the one with cis-isomers is able to encapsulate the anionic guests from the aqueous solution to the organic layer. Molecular modeling by Spartan was utilized to explain the special encapsulation property of PEI-STA-AZO. Azobenzene groups functioned as a reversible "photo-switch" in the dendritic guest-host system, and the reversibility of encapsulation capability of PEI-STA-AZO was also demonstrated. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Photoswitchable nanocarrier with reversible encapsulation properties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this