Confined co-assembly of AB/BC diblock copolymer blends under 3D soft confinement
Compared to synthesizing a new block copolymer, blending of two types of block copolymers or a block copolymer and a homopolymer is a simple yet effective approach to create new self-assembled nanostructures. Here, we apply Monte Carlo (MC) simulations to mimic the co-assembly of AB/BC diblock copolymer blends within a three-dimensional (3D) soft confined space, which corresponds to the co-assembly confined in an emulsion droplet in experiment. The confined co-assemblies of four types of block copolymer blends at different block ratios, i.e., A8B8/B8C8, A6B10/B10C6, A12B4/B4C12 and A12B4/B10C6, are investigated by MC simulations. The simulation results reveal that the ratio of different types of blocks and the polymer–solvent interactions between the different blocks and the solvent determine the final self-assembled nanostructures. By tailoring these two controlling parameters, we not only reproduced some classic nanostructures, i.e., pupa-, onion-, and bud-like particles, but also predicted some unconventional nanostructures, such as patch-, Janus-, peanut-, disc- and snowman-like particles via MC simulations.