Nanoscale detection of metal-labeled copolymers in patchy polymersomes†
We report the synthesis of polymersome-forming block copolymers using two different synthetic routes based on Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP) and Reversible Addition Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerization, respectively. Functionalization with 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) allowed the block copolymer chains to be labelled with electron-dense metal ions (e.g. indium). The resulting metal-conjugated copolymers can be visualized by transmission electron microscopy with single chain resolution, hence enabling the study of polymer/polymer immiscibility and phase separation on the nano-scale.