Ring-opening polymerization-induced crystallization-driven self-assembly of poly-L-lactide-block-polyethylene glycol block copolymers (ROPI-CDSA).
- Author(s): Hurst, Paul J
- Rakowski, Alexander M
- Patterson, Joseph P
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18460-2
The self-assembly of block copolymers into 1D, 2D and 3D nano- and microstructures is of great interest for a wide range of applications. A key challenge in this field is obtaining independent control over molecular structure and hierarchical structure in all dimensions using scalable one-pot chemistry. Here we report on the ring opening polymerization-induced crystallization-driven self-assembly (ROPI-CDSA) of poly-L-lactide-block-polyethylene glycol block copolymers into 1D, 2D and 3D nanostructures. A key feature of ROPI-CDSA is that the polymerization time is much shorter than the self-assembly relaxation time, resulting in a non-equilibrium self-assembly process. The self-assembly mechanism is analyzed by cryo-transmission electron microscopy, wide-angle x-ray scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and turbidity studies. The analysis revealed that the self-assembly mechanism is dependent on both the polymer molecular structure and concentration. Knowledge of the self-assembly mechanism enabled the kinetic trapping of multiple hierarchical structures from a single block copolymer.