Polymeric filomicelles and nanoworms: two decades of synthesis and application
Filomicelles and nanoworms are an emerging subclass of nanomaterials with a special elongated shape. The physical properties of a filomicelle are distinct from a traditional spherical micelle, and as such have attracted tremendous interest in a variety of research areas. In this review, we highlight the substantial progress in the synthesis and application of polymeric nanoworms over the past two decades. Synthetic techniques summarized in this review are particle replication in nonwetting templates (PRINT), film stretching, self-assembly (SA), crystallization-driven self-assembly (CDSA), polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), and temperature-induced morphological transformation (TIMT). The applications of filomicelles as (i) templates for inorganic nanoparticles, (ii) building blocks for superstructures, (iii) synthetic dendritic cells for immunotherapy, (iv) constituents of thermoresponsive gels for biomedical applications, and (v) nanocarriers for cancer drug delivery are subsequently discussed. In the conclusion, we describe the current trajectory of research in the field and identify areas where further developments are of urgent need.