Dispersion polymerization in non-polar solvent: Evolution toward emerging applications
Currently, there is a resurgence of interest in the preparation of monodisperse, size-controlled latex particles in non-polar solvents by dispersion polymerization. This technique has great potential for manufacturing designed latex particles for emerging applications such as the use of latex particles in electrophoretic displays, where one of the numerous requirements is that the particle systems be suspended in low dielectric constant, non-polar solvents. This article reviews the academic literature around the typical monomers used in non-polar dispersion polymerization. It briefly introduces the origin of the technique and the initial seminal work carried out in this area. It also describes how such particles have been used in the past as model colloids for academic purposes and provides recent examples where dispersion polymerization is used to create novel functional particles. Subsequently, the article provides a thorough knowledge basis for each monomer used in non-polar dispersion polymerization, with a focus on the evolution of the technique, including progress in controlling the final particle characteristics and in designing novel effective stabilizers. Finally, a brief review on the use of the technique to prepare well-controlled latex particles in supercritical fluids is presented.