Stimuli-responsive and core cross-linked micelles developed by NiCCo-PISA of helical poly(aryl isocyanide)s†
We report the synthesis of redox- and pH-sensitive block copolymer micelles that contain chiral cores composed of helical poly(aryl isocyanide)s. Pentafluorophenyl (PFP) ester-containing micelles synthesised via nickel-catalysed coordination polymerisation-induced self-assembly (NiCCo-PISA) of helical poly(aryl isocyanide) amphiphilic diblock copolymers are modified post-polymerisation with various diamines to introduce cross-links and/or achieve stimulus-sensitive nanostructures. The successful introduction of the diamines is confirmed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), while the stabilisation effect of the cross-linking is explored by dynamic light scattering (DLS). The retention of the helicity of the core-forming polymer block is verified by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and the stimuli-responsiveness of the nanoparticles towards a reducing agent (L-glutathione, GSH) and pH is evaluated by following the change in the size of the nanoparticles by DLS. These stimuli-responsive nanoparticles could find use in applications such as drug delivery, nanosensors or biological imaging.