Interpenetrated and Bridged Nanocylinders from Self-Assembled Star Block Copolymers

Esmaeel Moghimi, Iurii Chubak, Konstantinos Ntetsikas, Georgios Polymeropoulos, Xin Wang, Consiglia Carillo, Antonia Statt, Luca Cipelletti, Kell Mortensen, Nikos Hadjichristidis, Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos, Christos N. Likos, Dimitris Vlassopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The design of functional polymeric materials with tunable response requires a synergetic use of macromolecular architecture and interactions. Here, we combine experiments with computer simulations to demonstrate how physical properties of gels can be tailored at the molecular level, using star block copolymers with alternating block sequences as a paradigm. Telechelic star polymers containing attractive outer blocks self-assemble into soft patchy nanoparticles, whereas their mirror-image inverted architecture with inner attractive blocks yields micelles. In concentrated solutions, bridged and interpenetrated hexagonally packed nanocylinders are formed, respectively, with distinct structural and rheological properties. The phase diagrams exhibit a peculiar re-entrance where the hexagonal phase melts upon both heating and cooling because of solvent-block and block-block interactions. The bridged nanostructure is characterized by similar deformability, extended structural coherence, enhanced elasticity, and yield stress compared to micelles or typical colloidal gels, which make them promising and versatile materials for diverse applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-939
Number of pages14
JournalMacromolecules
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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