Silica nanoparticles (SNPs) are attractive for the delivery of drugs and as imaging agents due to their ease of synthesis and scale up, robust structure, and controllable size and composition. Degradability is one important factor that limits biomedical applications of SNPs. With this in mind, we designed, prepared and characterized novel hydrolysable organosilica nanoparticles (ICPTES–sorbitol SNPs). These particles were prepared by co-condensation of tetraethoxysilane with a bridged sorbitol-based silsesquioxane precursor containing carbamate linkages. The non-porous spherical ICPTES–sorbitol SNPs became porous after they were placed in an aqueous environment as a result of the hydrolysis of carbamate bonds and were completely degraded upon prolonged exposure to water. The rate of degradation depended on the pH of the solution, with nanoparticles degrading slower at pH 2 than at pH 4 or pH 7. The degradation was demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy, nitrogen desorption analysis and solution analytical techniques such as ICP-MS and molybdenum blue assay, which was also used to follow the dissolution of ICPTES–sorbitol SNPs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the NIH (Grant No. R01ES024681) and the University of Utah Nanotechnology Training Program Fellowship (to Seyyed Pouya Hadipour Moghaddam).
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018.