Albertsen, A. N.,Szymanski, J. K.,Perez-Mercader, J.

Giant micrometer sized vesicles are of obvious interest to the natural sciences as well as engineering, having potential application in fields ranging from drug delivery to synthetic biology. Their formation often requires elaborate experimental techniques and attempts to obtain giant vesicles from chemical media in a one-pot fashion have so far led to much smaller nanoscale structures. Here we show that a tailored medium undergoing controlled radical polymerization is capable of forming giant polymer vesicles. Using a protocol which allows for an aqueous reaction under mild conditions, we observe the macroscale consequences of amphiphilic polymer synthesis and the resulting molecular self-assembly using fluorescence microscopy. The polymerization process is photoinitiated by blue light granting complete control of the reaction, including on the microscope stage. The self-assembly process leads to giant vesicles with radii larger than 10 microns, exhibiting several emergent properties, including periodic growth and collapse as well as phototaxis.