Au@p4VP core@shell pH-sensitive nanocomposites suitable for drug entrapment

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • Joaquim Clara-Rahola - , UPC Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Barcelona Tech), Eikhonal Research (Author)
  • Ana Moscoso - , University of Málaga (Author)
  • Ana Belén Ruiz-Muelle - , Department of Chemistry and PhysicsResearch Centre CIAIMBITALUniversity of Almería (Author)
  • Marco Laurenti - , Complutense University (Author)
  • Petr Formanek - , Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden (Author)
  • Juan M. Lopez-Romero - , University of Málaga (Author)
  • Ignacio Fernández - , Department of Chemistry and PhysicsResearch Centre CIAIMBITALUniversity of Almería (Author)
  • J. Fernando Diaz - , Spanish National Research Council (Author)
  • Jorge Rubio-Retama - , Complutense University (Author)
  • Andreas Fery - , Chair of Physical Chemistry of Polymeric Materials, Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden (Author)
  • Rafael Contreras-Cáceres - , University of Málaga, Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden (Author)


We synthesize and characterize pH-responsive hybrid nanocomposites with SERS and drug loading applications. This colloidal system is structured by spherical 50 nm Au cores individually coated by a pH-sensitive shell of poly4-vinylpyridine (Au@p4VP). The synthesis of these hybrid nanocomposites is performed in two steps, a first one involves the fabrication of vinyl-functionalized Au nanoparticles, and a second one includes the controlled overgrowth of a p4VP shell by free radical polymerization. As a result, Au@p4VP hybrid systems with a mean diameter ranging from 150 to 57 nm are obtained upon varying the monomer concentration at synthesis. Au@p4VP nanocomposite exhibits pH-response capabilities, confirmed by cryo-TEM analysis, Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) and Zeta Potential (ZP) measurements at different pH conditions. The Au@p4VP particles also display a controllable swelling response, which depends on the cross-linker density within the polymer. This swelling capability is analyzed by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), and UV–vis spectroscopy at different pHs. The pH-responsive capability is here exploited for the chemical entrapment of doxorubicin hydrochloride (Dox) into the polymer network. The presence of this molecule is resolved by Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) measurements. The entrapment efficiency of Dox by the Au@p4VP system is determined via NMR spectroscopy of the supernatants.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-714
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of colloid and interface science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018

External IDs

PubMed 29310100



  • Cryo-TEM, Gold nanoparticles, Nanocomposite system, SERS, Stimuli-responsive