This article presents the interaction of curcumin in the microenvironments provided by aggregation of pluronic triblock copolymer P123 into micellar and vesicular assemblies. The formation of vesicles using triblock copolymer P123 and 5-methylsalicylic acid (5 mS) has been successfully characterized by optical spectroscopy, light scattering measurement, and eventually microscopic techniques. Besides, to make a comparative study between the polymeric micelles, we have also investigated the photophysical changes of curcumin in F127 triblock copolymer micelles having variation in poly(ethylene oxide) (PPO) and poly(propylene oxide) (PEO) unit of polymer chain to that of P123. Time-dependent UV-vis measurement suggests that these polymer micelles are able to stabilize poorly water-soluble curcumin by suppressing the degradation rate in micellar nanocavity. However, experimental observations suggest that P123 micelles are more efficient than F127 to perturb excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT)-related nonradiative decay of curcumin. We also observed that rigid and confined microenvironment of P123/5 mS vesicles enhances emission intensity and lifetime of curcumin more compared to P123 micelles. All the observations suggest that modulation of photophysics of curcumin is responsible due to its interaction with poly(ethylene oxide) or poly(propylene oxide) unit of triblock copolymer.
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© 2014 American Chemical Society.