Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Chemical and Materials Engineering

Committee Chair

Carmen Scholz

Committee Member

H. S. N. Jayawardena

Committee Member

Pamela Twigg


Amino acids--Synthesis, Nanoparticles, Drug delivery systems


Block copolymers of poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(L-Leucine) were synthesized to study their self-assembly behavior and ability to form polymeric micelles. These micelles were mPEGn-b-p(L-Leu)x, HO-PEGn-b-p(L-Leu)x, and p(L-Leu)x-b- PEGn-bp( L-Leu)x. The molecular weight of PEG varied between 2000 and 500 Da and the weight of p(L-Leu) varied between 1965 and 8515 Da. These micelles were assembled in aqueous solution both with and without 5nm diameter iron oxide nanoparticles and then analyzed with a zetasizer to determine their diameter. The goal was to find a combination of chain lengths that consistently produce a micelle that fully encapsulates 5nm iron oxide nanoparticles without going over 100nm in diameter. Each copolymer variation had a combination that produced micelles of less than 100nm in diameter, yet mPEGn-b-p(LLeu) x produced the best results overall. It was found that increasing chain length would decrease the size of the micelle, and that introducing nanoparticles increased micelle size slightly.



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