Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 1, 2021

Forced gradient copolymerisation: a simplified approach for polymerisation-induced self-assembly

Author affiliations

Abstract

In this work, a novel and versatile gradient copolymerisation approach to simplify polymeric nanoparticle synthesis through polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA) is reported. In contrast with the commonly performed two-step PISA process, which involves chain-extension of a pre-synthesised stabiliser (or solvophilic block), this work demonstrates a one pot PISA approach via the formation of gradient copolymers through a gradual injection of the core-forming monomer in the presence of a solvophilic monomer. To demonstrate this concept, two model PISA systems were tested using a methacrylate monomer pair and an acrylamide pair. PISA using dimethylacrylamide (DMA) and diacetone acrylamide (DAAm) was first established to form a range of nanoparticle morphologies (spheres and worms), and importantly, a pure worm phase was observed without the addition of a co-solvent or a second solvophilic monomer during the polymerisation of the core-forming monomer. To demonstrate the gradient approach can be applied to other PISA monomer pairs, this methodology was applied to a system using oligo(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate (OEGMA300) and 2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate (HPMA) as monomers. PISA of this monomer pair resulted in the formation of nanoparticles with various morphologies, including spheres, worms and vesicles. More interestingly, the nanoparticles formed using these gradient copolymers presented thermoresponsive behaviour, exhibiting a sphere-to-worm transition with an increase in temperature from 25 °C to 40 °C. Thus, this facile gradient copolymerisation approach was shown to simplify the PISA process into a single step approach with easily tuneable solvophilic block length and copolymer composition, and additionally provide nanoparticle structures that afford unique properties.

Graphical abstract: Forced gradient copolymerisation: a simplified approach for polymerisation-induced self-assembly

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
21 Jun 2020
Accepted
18 Jul 2020
First published
20 Jul 2020

Polym. Chem., 2021,12, 57-68
Article type
Paper

Forced gradient copolymerisation: a simplified approach for polymerisation-induced self-assembly

S. Xu, N. Corrigan and C. Boyer, Polym. Chem., 2021, 12, 57 DOI: 10.1039/D0PY00889C

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements