Preparation of pH-Responsive Poly(aspartic acid) Nanogels in Inverse Emulsion
Poly(aspartic acid) (PASP) hydrogels were prepared by cross-linking polysuccinimide (PSI) with diaminobutane followed by the mild hydrolysis of the resultant PSI gels to PASP hydrogels. The composition dependence of the gelation time and the stiffness of bulk PASP hydrogels were determined by rheometry and compression tests, respectively. The composition of the prepared PASP nanogels was chosen based on the results on bulk PASP hydrogels. Prior to nanogel preparation stability of DMSO-in-oil (inverse) emulsions was tested as a function of the chemical quality of apolar phase, the concentration of the precursor polymer and the concentration of the surfactant. PASP nanogels in the size of a few hundred nanometers were prepared by the hydrolysis of PSI nanogels synthesized in inverse emulsion. PASP nanogels showed pH-dependent swelling and strongly negative surface charge at physiological pH values, thus they can be further developed to meet the specific criteria of different bio-related applications.