Large core-shell poly(methyl methacrylate) colloidal clusters: Synthesis, characterization, and tracking

Mark T. Elsesser, Andrew D. Hollingsworth, Kazem V. Edmond, David J. Pine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a multistep procedure yielding large (diameter > 2 μm) monodisperse, fluorescently labeled core-shell poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) latex particles via dispersion polymerization. The particles' physical properties were controlled by adjusting two reaction parameters, the initiator and chain transfer agent concentrations, which influence the molecular weight of the PMMA. Under certain conditions, particles with the requisite properties for fabricating colloidal clusters were synthesized. The resulting clusters represent a new type of nonspherical colloid that can be dispersed in a density- and refractive index-matching solvent, making them ideal for quantitative studies using confocal microscopy. To demonstrate the utility of our clusters, we measured the translational and rotational diffusion coefficients of a tetrahedral cluster by tracking the motion of its constituent particles in three-dimensional space. More broadly, our findings provide new insights concerning PMMA dispersion polymerization in apolar media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-927
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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