Probing and Tuning the Permeability of Polymersomes

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Polymersomes are a class of synthetic vesicles composed of a polymer membrane surrounding an aqueous inner cavity. In addition to their overall size, the thickness and composition of polymersome membranes determine the range of potential applications in which they can be employed. While synthetic polymer chemists have made great strides in controlling polymersome membrane parameters, measurement of their permeability to various analytes including gases, ions, organic molecules, and macromolecules remains a significant challenge. In this Outlook, we compare the general methods that have been developed to quantify polymersome membrane permeability, focusing in particular on their capability to accurately measure analyte flux. In addition, we briefly highlight strategies to control membrane permeability. Based on these learnings, we propose a set of criteria for designing future methods of quantifying membrane permeability such that the passage of a variety of molecules into and out of their lumens can be better understood.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This work was supported by the ERC (Grant 615142), EPSRC, and the University of Birmingham. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Central Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021