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Depletion driven self-assembly of block copolymer solutions by homopolymers

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Abstract

The addition of a non-adsorbing homopolymer to a block copolymer solution provides a convenient strategy for regulating its self-assembly. We systematically investigate the depletion effect from a homopolymer on the morphologies of AB diblock and BAB triblock copolymers in selective solvents. Increasing the homopolymer content results in larger spherical micelles, and the curvature of micelles is proportional to the square of homopolymer concentrations. A high enough homopolymer concentration may transfer micelles into vesicles. A deep analysis shows that the depletion effect produces attractive interaction between hydrophilic B blocks as well as their contraction on the micellar surface. The size of triblock copolymer micelles is not affected by homopolymers significantly, and spherical-to-wormlike micelle transition occurs at high homopolymer contents. These results have important applications for the precise design of self-assembled nanostructures of copolymer systems.

Graphical abstract: Depletion driven self-assembly of block copolymer solutions by homopolymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Oct 2018, accepted on 02 Jan 2019 and first published on 03 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP06679E
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, Advance Article
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    Depletion driven self-assembly of block copolymer solutions by homopolymers

    T. Yang, Z. Lei, S. Yang and E. Chen, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8CP06679E

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