[Chemical Science] Supramolecular hydrogel microcapsules via cucurbituril host–guest interactions
Host–guest assembly in droplet-based microfluidics opens a new avenue for fabricating supramolecular hydrogel microcapsules with high monodispersity and controlled functionality. In this paper, we demonstrate a single emulsion microdroplet platform to prepare microcapsules with supramolecular hydrogel skins from host molecule cucurbituril and guest polymer anthracene-functionalized hydroxyethyl cellulose. In contrast to construction of microcapsules from a droplet-in-droplet double emulsion, here the electrostatic attraction between charged polymer and surfactant facilitates formation of defined supramolecular hydrogel skins in a single emulsion. Furthermore, by taking advantage of dynamic interactions and the tunable cross-linked supramolecular hydrogel network, it is possible to prepare microcapsules with triggered and UV-controlled molecular permeability. These could be potentially used in a delivery system for e.g. agrochemicals, nutraceuticals or cosmetics.
Ziyi Yu,a Jing Zhang,a Roger J. Coulston,b Richard M. Parker,a Frank Biedermann,b Xin Liu,a Oren A. Scherman*b and Chris Abell*a Author affiliations * Corresponding authors a Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org b Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK E-mail: email@example.com