Szymanski, J. K.,Perez-Mercader, J.

We demonstrate an easy-to-implement experimental emulsion polymerization protocol whose outcome is an amphiphilic copolymer capable of forming vesicles in an aqueous phase. The protocol does not require prior purification of chemicals or the exclusion of oxygen. Using n-butyl acrylate as the monomer, we employ a redox initiation system composed of cerium(IV) ions and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), optimizing the performance of this redox couple such that the reaction can be conducted in air. The PEG-based chain radicals produced during initiation attack the monomer molecules, resulting in an amphiphilic product, which brings the synthesis of a vesicle-forming polymer to a level where no complicated equipment is required and may have implications for origins of life research.