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Issue 21, 2016
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Charge-controlled nano-structuring in partially collapsed star-shaped macromolecules

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Abstract

Hydrophobic polyelectrolytes exhibit intra-molecular nano-scale self-organization instead of macroscopic phase separation because of the interplay between short-range hydrophobic attraction and long-range electrostatic repulsion. We aim to unravel how the morphology of the intra-molecular nanostructures can be controlled through the topology of the macromolecule on one hand and by adjustable ionization on the other hand. Specifically, we focus on hydrophobic star-branched polyelectrolytes, composed of either strong or weak acidic monomers. While both collapse in a globule when uncharged, and expand to full stretching of arms at high ionization, they exhibit quite different intermediate scenarios. For the strong ones, we observe the formation of bundles of arms as the main structural motif, and for the weak ones the intramolecular micelle-like structure is found at the same overall charge of the macromolecule. Here intramolecular disproportionation leaves some arms in a collapsed virtually neutral core, while others are substantially ionized and stretched in the corona.

Graphical abstract: Charge-controlled nano-structuring in partially collapsed star-shaped macromolecules

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Polymers
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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Jan 2016, accepted on 30 Mar 2016 and first published on 03 May 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00109B
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 4846-4852
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    Charge-controlled nano-structuring in partially collapsed star-shaped macromolecules

    F. Uhlík, P. Košovan, E. B. Zhulina and O. V. Borisov, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 4846
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00109B

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