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Issue 46, 2019
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Microphase separation of highly amphiphilic, low N polymers by photoinduced copper-mediated polymerization, achieving sub-2 nm domains at half-pitch

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Abstract

The lower limit of domain size resolution using microphase separation of short poly(acrylic acid) homopolymers equipped with a short fluorinated tail, posing as an antagonist ‘A block’ in pseudo AB block copolymers has been investigated. An alkyl halide initiator with a fluorocarbon chain was utilized as a first ‘A block’ in the synthesis of low molecular weight polymers (1400–4300 g mol−1) using photoinduced Cu(II)-mediated polymerization allowing for very narrow dispersity. Poly(tert-butyl acrylate) was synthesized and subsequently deprotected to give very low degrees of polymerization (N), amphiphilic polymers with low dispersity (Đ = 1.06–1.13). By exploiting the high driving force for demixing and the well-defined ‘block’ sizes, we are able to control the nanostructure in terms of domain size (down to 3.4 nm full-pitch) and morphology. This work demonstrates the simple and highly controlled synthesis of polymers to push the boundaries of the smallest achievable domain sizes obtained from polymer self-assembly.

Graphical abstract: Microphase separation of highly amphiphilic, low N polymers by photoinduced copper-mediated polymerization, achieving sub-2 nm domains at half-pitch

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Article information


Submitted
30 Aug 2019
Accepted
14 Oct 2019
First published
13 Nov 2019

This article is Open Access

Polym. Chem., 2019,10, 6254-6259
Article type
Communication

Microphase separation of highly amphiphilic, low N polymers by photoinduced copper-mediated polymerization, achieving sub-2 nm domains at half-pitch

E. Hancox, E. Liarou, J. S. Town, G. R. Jones, S. A. Layton, S. Huband, M. J. Greenall, P. D. Topham and D. M. Haddleton, Polym. Chem., 2019, 10, 6254
DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01312A

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