In recent years, polymer nanoparticles have been investigated with great interest due to their potential applications in the fields of electronics, photonics, and biotechnology. Here, we report the spontaneous formation of polymer nanoparticles from a clear solution containing a nonvolatile poor solvent by slow evaporation of a volatile good solvent. During evaporation of the good solvent, the solution gradually turns turbid. After evaporation, polymer nanoparticles of homogeneous shape and size are dispersed in the poor solvent. Homogeneous nucleation and successive growth of polymer particles takes place during the dynamic nonequilibrium process of solvent evaporation. The size of the particles, ranging from tens of nanometers to micrometer scale, depends on both polymer concentration and the solvent mixing ratio. Because of the physical generality of the particle formation mechanism, this procedure is applicable to a wide variety of polymers with suitable combinations of solvents. Here, we also show unique features, surface structures and surface properties of polymer nanoparticles prepared by this method.
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