Complex Coacervate Core Micelles (C3Ms)

Camilla Facciotti MSc
Dr. Jan Bart ten Hove
Dr. Junyou Wang
Dr. Vittorio Saggiomo
Prof. Dr. Aldrik Velders

Complex Coacervate Core Micelles (C3Ms) constitute a large and versatile subgroup of micelles. The core of such micelles can be formed by multiple structures based on a wide range of covalent and non-covalent interactions that interact through charge interactions with oppositely charged block copolymers. The outer hydrophilic shell is typically defined by the neutral part of the block copolymer which often is a pegylated chain.

Because of the high degree of flexibility in the formation of these micelles, they form an interesting class of structures to be used for various biomedical applications. Among these, applications as (multimodal) diagnostic imaging agents and drug carriers are being investigated in our group. We explore and exploit the supramolecular interactions in such systems that allow for the formation of micelles that are responsive to external stimuli.

The core of the micelles can also be formed by (charged) dendrimers. Forming C3Ms with dendrimers in their core allows for the development of box-in-a-box-in-a-box by the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles inside the dendrimers. This opens up a whole new field of investigation in the directions of morphology studies and catalysis.