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Room temperature synthesis of block copolymer nano-objects with different morphologies via ultrasound initiated RAFT polymerization-induced self-assembly (sono-RAFT-PISA)

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Abstract

Polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), which allows scalable synthesis of nano-objects, has drawn significant research attention in the past decade. However, the initiation methods in most of the current reported PISA are still restricted to thermal or photo processes. Sonolysis of a water molecule by high frequency ultrasound to generate a hydroxyl radical and to initiate polymerization has the potential to be a new “initiator-free” synthesis technique. Despite ultrasound-initiated polymerization-induced self-assembly (sono-PISA) being reported, only spherical micelle morphology was achieved. We demonstrate here the first room temperature synthesis of diblock copolymer nano-objects with different morphologies using ultrasound (990 kHz) initiated reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer PISA (sono-RAFT-PISA) in an aqueous system. It was found that the morphologies of the block copolymer nano-objects prepared by sono-RAFT-PISA were different from those prepared by conventional thermal-PISA. Furthermore, the impacts of ultrasound and presence of a cross-linker on the nano-object morphology were investigated. It was observed that the stability of worm-like micelles will be affected by ultrasound but could be strengthened via core-cross-linking (CCL). Overall, the externally-regulatable, easily scalable and sustainable “green” features of ultrasound have the potential to promote the application of sono-PISA for the fabrication of nano-objects.

Graphical abstract: Room temperature synthesis of block copolymer nano-objects with different morphologies via ultrasound initiated RAFT polymerization-induced self-assembly (sono-RAFT-PISA)

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
30 Mar 2020
Accepted
01 May 2020
First published
04 May 2020

Polym. Chem., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Room temperature synthesis of block copolymer nano-objects with different morphologies via ultrasound initiated RAFT polymerization-induced self-assembly (sono-RAFT-PISA)

J. Wan, B. Fan, Y. Liu, T. Hsia, K. Qin, T. Junkers, B. M. Teo and S. H. Thang, Polym. Chem., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0PY00461H

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