Recently, we have started a systematic study of the structure and dynamics of nano- and microparticles of interest as highly biocompatible drug carriers. For these particles, that are composed of polymeric and lipid material, a detailed understanding of the particle–solvent interactions is of key importance in order to tailor their characteristics for delivering drugs with specific chemical properties. Here we report results of elastic neutron scattering (ENS) investigations on lecithin/chitosan nanoparticles. They were first prepared by autoassembling the two components in aqueous solution; the samples were then freeze-dried and re-hydrated in a D2O atmosphere. The experiments were performed in the temperature range of 20–50K using the backscattering spectrometer IN13 at ILL (Grenoble, France). The comparison of samples in the dry state with similar ones at an hydration level of about 0.3–0.4 (g D2O/g hydrated sample), indicates that the presence of an outer chitosan ‘‘coating’’ reduces the mean square fluctuations of the hydrogens in the lipid component, leading thus to a stiffer nanoparticle structure.
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