The use of particle formulations with antifouling surface properties attracts increasing interest in several biotechnological applications. Majority of these studies utilize a poly(ethylene glycol) coating to render the corresponding surface nonrecognizable to biological macromolecules. Herein, we report a simple way to prepare novel antifouling colloids composed of oligo(ethylene glycol) backbones via surfactant-free emulsion polymerization. Monodisperse cross-linked poly(ethylene glycol) ethyl ether methacrylate particles were characterized by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy. The effects of monomer, cross-linker and initiator on particle characteristics were investigated. More importantly, a prominent blockage of bovine serum albumin adsorption was obtained for the poly(ethylene glycol)-based sub-micron (similar to 200 nm) particles when compared with similar-sized poly(methyl methacrylate) counterparts. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.