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Self-assembled Morphologies of an Amphiphilic Y-shaped weak Polyelectrolyte in a Thin Film

Abstract

Different from the self-assembly of neutral polymers, the polyelectrolyte self-assemblies into smaller aggregates with a looser assembling structure, which results from the repulsive forces acting between similar electrical compositions with the introduction of ions. The Y-shaped weak polyelectrolyte self-assembles into a core-shell type cylindrical structure with a hexagonal arrangement in a thin film, whose thickness is smaller than the gyration radius of the polymer chain. The according formation mechanism consists of the enrichment of the same components, adjustment of the shape of the aggregate, and the subsequent separation into individual aggregates. With the increase in the thickness of the thin film until it exceeds the gyration radius of the polymer chain, combined with the greater freedom of movement along the direction of thin film thickness, the self-assembled structure changes into a micellar structure. Under the confinement, whose repulsive force to the polymeric components is weakened by the repulsive force among polyelectrolyte components with like charges, helps generating aggregates with more uniform size and density distribution. In particular, when the repulsive force between the walls and the core forming components is greater than that between the walls and the shell forming components, such asymmetric confinement produces a crossed-cylindrical structure with nearly perpendicular arrangement of two cylinder arrays. Similarly, a novel three-crossed cylinder morphology is self-assembled under the removal of the confinement.

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Aug 2017, accepted on 15 Sep 2017 and first published on 15 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP05497A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Self-assembled Morphologies of an Amphiphilic Y-shaped weak Polyelectrolyte in a Thin Film

    D. Mu, J. Li and S. Feng, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP05497A

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