Pluronic micelle shuttle between water and an ionic liquid

Zhifeng Bai, Timothy P. Lodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We demonstrate an effective micelle shuttle between water and a hydrophobic ionic liquid and its application in. transportation in the biphasic system, using a commercially available and inexpensive Pluronic block copolymer. The poly (ethylene oxide-b-propylene oxide-b-ethylene oxide) (P 123) block copolymer self-assembles into micelles in both water and the ionic liquid, l-butyl-3-m.ethylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, as characterized by dynamic light scattering. The polyethylene oxide) blocks provide the well-solvated corona, whereas the polypropylene oxide) blocks form the solvophobic core. The micelles can spontaneously transfer between the two phases upon a simple temperature stimulus; the transfer is reversible and repeatable, and 1H NMR analysis indicates quantitative transfer. The micelle nanocarriers are used to transport various cargoes in the biphasic system: fully reversible transport of hydrophobic small, organic dyes into and out of water and facile extraction of an ionic liquid-phobic polymer from the ionic liquid. This simple round-trip delivery system may be used in delivery, separations, and extraction in synthesis and biphasic catalysis involving ionic liquids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8887-8892
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

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