We present a single-step, grafting-to synthetic method for the encapsulation of particulate NaBH4 by dopamine end-functionalized polymer chains. Metal-catechol coordination chemistry is used to produce core-shell capsules, which generate H2 gas exclusively upon adsorption to an oil-water interface.
Significantly, the synthetic process enables facile control of core diameter, shell thickness, and the chemistry of both shell and core. The interfacial reactivity of these stimuli-responsive capsules may be engineered for various applications such as medical diagnostics, therapeutics, and subsurface imaging. In addition to their triggered reactivity, the capsules react in a manner independent of pressure, and are thus well-suited for high pressure subsurface environments.