Image of the month

Polymer particleDespite appearances, this month's image is not a newly-discovered planet. It is actually a microscopic polymer particle just 120 millionths of a millimetre in diameter. These novel nanoparticles have been prepared by Ashkan Dehsorkhi, Valeria Castelletto and Ian Hamley of the Chemistry Department, using a technique in which a commercial copolymer (Pluronic P123) is treated with tannic acid. This treatment induces a phase separation into polymer-rich and polymer-poor domains - the two phases appear as light and dark regions in the TEM image, which was taken by CfAM's Peter Harris. Emulsions of the nanoparticles exhibit a pearlescent appearance which could make them valuable components of personal care products. A paper describing this research has recently been published in the journal Soft Matter.



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