Recent advances in the synthesis of Janus nanomaterials of block copolymers
We present a review of the very recent advances in the synthesis of block copolymer (BCP) Janus nanomaterials. Although Janus micelles can form by the self-assembly of BCPs in solution, patchy or core–shell structures are usually dominant. Structural transformation of the core–shell structure or disassembly of the patchy structure is further employed to achieve Janus nanomaterials. Disassembly of ABC tri-block terpolymer supramolecular structures is advantageous in tuning much more easily the shapes of the Janus nanomaterials from spherical to cylindrical and sheet/disc-like. Narrow molecular weight distributions and strict processing conditions are required. Emulsion droplet confined self-assembly of BCPs can directly achieve Janus nanomaterials in a sufficiently small droplet and/or at low polymer concentration. A neutral emulsion interface is required using proper surfactants. Alternatively, a general method has been proposed to prepare Janus nanomaterials by guided self-assembly of BCPs within a confined environment by the strong interaction and the selective crosslinking of one block. The aforementioned Janus nanomaterials are in the form of a polymer cluster. Single chain Janus nanomaterials of BCPs can be prepared by intramolecular crosslinking of one block in a very dilute solution. It remains challenging to synthesize single chain Janus nanomaterials at high solid content for example tens of percent. At the end of this review, a perspective on BCP Janus nanomaterials is provided.