Segregation of Maghemite Nanoparticles within Symmetric Diblock Copolymer and Triblock Terpolymer Patterns under Solvent Vapor Annealing.
ABSTRACT: Block copolymers (BCPs), through their self-assembly, provide an excellent guiding platform for precise controlled localization of maghemite nanoparticles (MNPs). Diblock copolymers (di/BCP) represent the most applied matrix to host filler components due to their morphological simplicity. A series of nanocomposites based on diblock copolymer or triblock terpolymer matrices and magnetic nanoparticles were prepared to study and compare the influence of an additional block into the BCP matrix. MNPs were grafted with low molecular weight polystyrene (PS) chains in order to be segregated in a specific phase of the matrix to induce selective localization. After the mixing of the BCPs with 10% w/v PS-g-MNPs, nanocomposite thin films were formed by spin coating. Solvent vapor annealing (SVA) enabled the PS-g-MNPs selective placement within the PS domains of the BCPs, as revealed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The recorded images have proven that high amounts of functionalized MNPs can be controllably localized within the same block (PS), despite the architecture of the BCPs (AB vs. ABC). The adopted lamellar structure of the "neat" BCP thin films was maintained for MNPs loading approximately up to 10% w/v, while, for higher content, the BCP adopted lamellar morphology is partially disrupted, or even disappears for both AB and ABC architectures.
Project description:This study systematically compares the effects of amphiphilic diblock copolymer (di-BCP) on stabilizing hydrophobic drug nanoparticles formed by flash nanoprecipitation (FNP), and provides a guideline on choosing suitable di-BCPs. Four widely used di-BCPs, i.e., polystyrene-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PS-b-PEG), polycaprolactone-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PCL-b-PEG), polylactide-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLA-b-PEG), and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA-b-PEG), and ?-carotene as a model drug were used. The study showed that PLGA-b-PEG was the most suitable one, whose hydrophobic block was biodegradable and noncrystallizable as well as had relatively high glass transition temperature (Tg) and a right solubility parameter (?). The molecular weight of PLGA block over the range from 5k to 15k showed an insignificant effect on controlling the particle size. Amorphous drug particles with a high drug loading of over 83 wt% can be achieved. Much remarkable evidence supported the nanoparticles with kinetically frozen and non-equilibrium packing structures of polymer chains rather than either the micelles or micellar nanoparticles with two well segregated polymer blocks. The thermodynamic effects of the drug and BCP on the particle stability, size and structures were discussed by using solubility parameters.
Project description:We explore the generality of the influence of segment chirality on the self-assembled structure of achiral-chiral diblock copolymers. Poly(cyclohexylglycolide) (PCG)-based chiral block copolymers (BCPs*), poly(benzyl methacrylate)-b-poly(d-cyclohexylglycolide) (PBnMA-PDCG) and PBnMA-b-poly(l-cyclohexyl glycolide) (PBnMA-PLCG), were synthesized for purposes of systematic comparison with polylactide (PLA)-based BCPs*, previously shown to exhibit chirality transfer from monomeric unit to the multichain domain morphology. Opposite-handed PCG helical chains in the enantiomeric BCPs* were identified by the vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) studies revealing transfer from chiral monomers to chiral intrachain conformation. We report further VCD evidence of chiral interchain interactions, consistent with some amounts of handed skew configurations of PCG segments in a melt state packing. Finally, we show by electron tomography [3D transmission electron microscope tomography (3D TEM)] that chirality at the monomeric and intrachain level ultimately manifests in the symmetry of microphase-separated, multichain morphologies: a helical phase (H*) of hexagonally, ordered, helically shaped tubular domains whose handedness agrees with the respective monomeric chirality. Critically, unlike previous PLA-based BCP*s, the lack of a competing crystalline state of the chiral PCGs allowed determination that H* is an equilibrium phase of chiral PBnMA-PCG. We compared different measures of chirality at the monomer scale for PLA and PCG, and argued, on the basis of comparison with mean-field theory results for chiral diblock copolymer melts, that the enhanced thermodynamic stability of the mesochiral H* morphology may be attributed to the relatively stronger chiral intersegment forces, ultimately tracing from the effects of a bulkier chiral side group on its main chain.
Project description:Charged block copolymers are of great interest due to their unique self-assembly and physicochemical properties. Understanding of the phase behavior of charged block copolymers, however, is still at a primitive stage. Here we report the discovery of an intriguing superlattice morphology from compositionally symmetric charged block copolymers, poly[(oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate-co-oligo(ethylene glycol) propyl sodium sulfonate methacrylate)]-b-polystyrene (POEGMA-PS), achieved by systematic variation of the molecular structure in general, and the charge content in particular. POEGMA-PS self-assembles into a superlattice lamellar morphology, a previously unknown class of diblock nanostructures, but strikingly similar to oxygen-deficient perovskite derivatives, when the fraction of charged groups in the POEGMA block is about 5-25%. The charge fraction and the tethering of the ionic groups both play critical roles in driving the superlattice formation. This study highlights the accessibility of superlattice morphologies by introducing charges in a controlled manner.
Project description:Block copolymers self-assemble into a variety of nanostructures that are relevant for science and technology. While the assembly of diblock copolymers is largely understood, predicting the solution assembly of triblock terpolymers remains challenging due to complex interplay of block/block and block/solvent interactions. Here we provide guidelines for the self-assembly of linear ABC triblock terpolymers into a large variety of multicompartment nanostructures with C corona and A/B cores. The ratio of block lengths NC/NA thereby controls micelle geometry to spheres, cylinders, bilayer sheets and vesicles. The insoluble blocks then microphase separate to core A and surface patch B, where NB controls the patch morphology to spherical, cylindrical, bicontinuous and lamellar. The independent control over both parameters allows constructing combinatorial libraries of unprecedented solution nanostructures, including spheres-on-cylinders/sheets/vesicles, cylinders-on-sheets/vesicles, and sheets/vesicles with bicontinuous or lamellar membrane morphology (patchy polymersomes). The derived parameters provide a logical toolbox towards complex self-assemblies for soft matter nanotechnologies.
Project description:Amphiphilic block-copolymers are known to self-assemble into micelles and vesicles. In this paper, we discuss the multiple options between and beyond these boundaries using amphiphilic AB diblock and ABC triblock copolymers. We adjust the final structure reached by the composition of the mixture, by the preparation temperature, and by varying the time-scale of formation. This leads to the formation of vesicles and micelles, but also internal micelles in larger sheets, lamellar vesicles, and closed tubes, thus broadening the amount of self-assembly structures available and deepening our understanding of them.
Project description:This work reports a novel, simple, and resist-free chemo-epitaxy process permitting the directed self-assembly (DSA) of lamella polystyrene-block-polymethylmethacrylate (PS-<i>b</i>-PMMA) block copolymers (BCPs) on a 300 mm wafer. 193i lithography is used to manufacture topographical guiding silicon oxide line/space patterns. The critical dimension (CD) of the silicon oxide line obtained can be easily trimmed by means of wet or dry etching: it allows a good control of the CD that permits finely tuning the guideline and the background dimensions. The chemical pattern that permits the DSA of the BCP is formed by a polystyrene (PS) guide and brush layers obtained with the grafting of the neutral layer polystyrene-random-polymethylmethacrylate (PS-<i>r</i>-PMMA). Moreover, data regarding the line edge roughness (LER) and line width roughness (LWR) are discussed with reference to the literature and to the stringent requirements of semiconductor technology.
Project description:Compared to liposomes, polymersomes of block copolymers (BCPs) possess enhanced stability, along with compromised bilayer permeability. Though polyion complex vesicles (PICsomes) from oppositely charged block polyelectrolytes possess semipermeable bilayers, they are unstable towards physiologically relevant ionic strength and temperature; moreover, permselectivity tuning of PICsomes has remained a challenge. Starting from a single component diblock or triblock precursor, we solve this dilemma by stimuli-triggered chemical reactions within pre-organized BCP vesicles, actuating in situ polymersome-to-PICsome transition and achieving molecular size-selective cargo release at tunable rates. UV light and reductive milieu were utilized to trigger carboxyl decaging and generate ion pairs within hydrophobic polymersome bilayers containing tertiary amines. Contrary to conventional PICsomes, in situ generated ones are highly stable towards extreme pH range (pH 2-12), ionic strength (~3?M NaCl), and elevated temperature (70?°C) due to multivalent ion-pair interactions at high local concentration and cooperative hydrogen bonding interactions of pre-organized carbamate linkages.
Project description:Crosslinking is an effective way to fabricate high-selective CO2 separation membranes because of its unique crosslinking framework. Thus, it is essentially significant to study the influence of crosslinking degree on the permeation selectivities of CO2. Herein, we report a successful and facile synthesis of a series of polyethylene oxide (PEO)-based diblock copolymers (BCP) incorporated with an unique UV-crosslinkable chalcone unit using Reversible Addition-Fragmentation Chain Transfer Polymerization (RAFT) process. The membranes of as-prepared BCPs show superior carbon dioxide (CO2) separation properties as compared to nitrogen (N2) after UV-crosslinking. Importantly, the influence of different proportions of crosslinked chalcone on CO2 selectivities was systematically investigated, which revealed that CO2 selectivities increased obviously with the enhancement of chalcone fractions within a certain limit. Further, the CO2 selectivities of block copolymer with the best block proportion was studied by varying the crosslinking time which confirmed that the high crosslinking degree exhibited a better CO2/N2 (?CO2/N2) selectivities. A possible mechanism model revealing that the crosslinking degree played a key role in the gas separation process was also proposed.
Project description:The exquisite selectivity and unique transport properties of membrane proteins can be harnessed for a variety of engineering and biomedical applications if suitable membranes can be produced. Amphiphilic block copolymers (BCPs), developed as stable lipid analogs, form membranes that functionally incorporate membrane proteins and are ideal for such applications. While high protein density and planar membrane morphology are most desirable, BCP-membrane protein aggregates have so far been limited to low protein densities in either vesicular or bilayer morphologies. Here, we used dialysis to reproducibly form planar and vesicular BCP membranes with a high density of reconstituted aquaporin-0 (AQP0) water channels. We show that AQP0 retains its biological activity when incorporated at high density in BCP membranes, and that the morphology of the BCP-protein aggregates can be controlled by adjusting the amount of incorporated AQP0. We also show that BCPs can be used to form two-dimensional crystals of AQP0.
Project description:The self-assembly of a lamellar-forming polystyrene-block-poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PS-b-PDMS) diblock copolymer (DBCP) was studied herein for surface nanopatterning. The DBCP was synthesized by sequential living anionic polymerization of styrene and hexamethylcyclotrisiloxane (D?). The number average molecular weight (Mn), polydispersity index (Mw/Mn) and PS volume fraction (?ps) of the DBCP were MnPS = 23.0 kg mol-1, MnPDMS = 15.0 kg mol-1, Mw/Mn = 1.06 and ?ps = 0.6. Thin films of the DBCP were cast and solvent annealed on topographically patterned polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) substrates. The lamellae repeat distance or pitch (?L) and the width of the PDMS features (dL) are ~35 nm and ~17 nm, respectively, as determined by SEM. The chemistry of the POSS substrates was tuned, and the effects on the self-assembly of the DBCP noted. The PDMS nanopatterns were used as etching mask in order to transfer the DBCP pattern to underlying silicon substrate by a complex plasma etch process yielding sub-15 nm silicon features.