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Exploiting the Structural Metamorphosis of Polymers to 'Wrap' Micron-Sized Spherical Objects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patrick Higgs, Dr David Fulton



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH. There is growing interest in developing methods to ‘wrap’ nano- and micron-sized biological objects within films that may offer protection, enhance their stability or improve performance. We describe the successful ‘wrapping’ of lectin-decorated microspheres, which serve as appealing model micron-sized objects, within cross-linked polymer film. This approach utilizes polymer chains able to undergo a structural metamorphosis, from being intramolecularly cross-linked to intermolecularly cross-linked, a process that is triggered by polymer concentration upon the particle surface. Experiments demonstrate that both complementary molecular recognition and the dynamic covalent nature of the crosslinker are required for successful ‘wrapping’ to occur. This work is significant as it suggests that nano- and micron-sized biological objects such as virus-like particles, bacteria or mammalian cells—all of which may benefit from additional environmental protection or stabilization in emerging applications—may also be ‘wrapped’ by this approach.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Higgs PL, Appleton JL, Turnbull WB, Fulton DA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemistry - A European Journal

Year: 2021

Volume: 27

Issue: 70

Pages: 17647-17654

Print publication date: 15/12/2021

Online publication date: 19/10/2021

Acceptance date: 19/10/2021

Date deposited: 20/12/2021

ISSN (print): 0947-6539

ISSN (electronic): 1521-3765

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/chem.202103216


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Funder referenceFunder name
Newcastle University