Sonochemical production and activation of responsive polymer microspheres

Gareth J. Price, Jasmine Bone, Karina Cochintoiu, Jamie Courtenay, Robin James, Lauren Matthews, Ruth Simmons

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This paper reports work aimed at extending previous studies of the sonochemical method for forming microspheres. It shows that a previously reported method for encapsulating and delivering hydrophilic species using a ‘double emulsion’ method can be used with chitosan or thiolated poly(methacrylic acid), PMAA SH , based systems. One particular application involves targeted catalysis where gold nanoparticles are incorporated into chitosan microspheres and can be released to catalyse the borohydride reduction of 4-nitrophenol. Also reported is the use of ultrasound to ‘trigger’ the reduction reaction of 4-nitrophenol by rupturing nanoparticle-containing microspheres to release the catalyst. We also demonstrate that more sustainable and potentially lower environmental impact processes can be prepared by substituting commercial vegetable oil for the hydrocarbons used previously. We also report for the first time the use of responsive block copolymers to form microspheres. The copolymers consist of PMAA SH blocks around a central, responsive block of poly(ethylene glycol), poly(4-vinylphenyl boronic acid) or poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) to give systems that potentially respond to pH, sugar concentrations or temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-409
Number of pages13
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Early online date20 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019


  • Polymer microsphere
  • Responsive material
  • Sonochemical catalysis
  • Sonochemical delivery
  • Sonochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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