Controlling release from pH-responsive microcapsules


Abbaspourrad, A. ; Datta, S. S. ; Weitz, D. A. Controlling release from pH-responsive microcapsules. Langmuir 2013, 29, 12697-12702. Copy at


We report a microfluidic approach to produce monodisperse pH-responsive microcapsules with precisely controlled release behavior. The solid microcapsule shells are composed of a biocompatible pH-responsive polymer and robustly encapsulate an active material; however, when exposed to a trigger pH, the shells degrade and ultimately release the microcapsule contents. We control the trigger pH by using polymers that dissolve at different pH values. We independently control the time at which the microcapsule contents are released by carefully controlling the shell thickness. Moreover, we independently control the rate at which the encapsulated contents are released by making hybrid shells composed of a mixture of a pH-responsive polymer and varying proportions of another, solid, pH-unresponsive polymer. This enables us to achieve monodisperse microcapsules that robustly encapsulate an active material, only releasing it when exposed to a desired pH, after a prescribed time delay, and at a prescribed rate.

Last updated on 03/10/2015