Macromolecules, 2017, vol 50, 16, pp. 6108-6116
Polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) is used for the highly convenient and efficient preparation of ampholytic diblock copolymer nanoparticles directly in acidic aqueous solution. Cationic nanoparticles comprising a protonated polyamine stabilizer block and a hydrophobic polyacid core-forming block are formed at pH 2. Micelle inversion occurs at pH 10 to produce anionic nanoparticles with an ionized polyacid stabilizer block and a hydrophobic polyamine core-forming block. Macroscopic precipitation occurs at around pH 6–7, which lies close to the isoelectric point of this ampholytic diblock copolymer. Incorporation of fluorescein and rhodamine dye labels into the acid and amine blocks, respectively, leads to dual-color bifluorescent self-reporting pH-responsive nanoparticles.