Self-assembly and functionalization of alternating copolymer vesicles†
This work reports on the preparation and functionalization of novel alternating copolymer vesicles. An amphiphilic alternating copolymer was synthesized first by the epoxy-thiol click reaction of 1,7-octadienediepoxide and 1,4-dithiothreitol. Then its self-assembly in selective solvents was studied through a simple injection method. The size and morphology of the self-assemblies were investigated by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electron microscope (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), atomic force microscope (AFM) and cryogenic transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM) measurements. The results showed that the abovementioned alternating copolymers could self-assemble into vesicles with a monolayer structure. Then a modular click reaction was employed to functionalize the obtained vesicles. Two kinds of functional groups, including the carboxyl group and the amino group, were successively introduced into the vesicles through the facile click-copolymerization of the alternating copolymers, indicating that the modular click reaction is quite potent in functionalizing these vesicles. The combined advantages of facile synthesis, self-assembly and functionalization offer a promising perspective for the application of such alternating copolymer vesicles.