Molecular and Process Parameters of Solution Based Polymer Self-Assemblies

Margarita Herrera-Alonso

The self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers is widely studied as an approach for engineering nano-objects. A variety of different features, including spherical micelles, cylindrical or worm-like micelles, toroids, and vesicles, result from the self-assembly of linear amphiphilic block copolymers by manipulating the ratio of dissimilar blocks, solvent quality, and coronal interactions.  Aside from the possibilities enabled by chemical diversity, aggregate structure can also be manipulated through kinetic features of the assembly process.  In this talk, we will examine the molecular and process determinants of aggregate properties from two amphiphilic systems with unique architectures: asymmetric macromolecular brushes (AAMBs), and linear-dendritic diblocks.  We will show how the morphological transition of self-assemblies of AAMBs parallels that of linear diblocks and the process parameters leading to the formation of toroidal aggregates.  We will also show how the solution co-assembly of linear and linear-dendritic amphiphiles into kinetically arrested nanoparticles enabled controlled variation in particle size and aggregate morphology.  Lastly, we will discuss the development of unique functional polycarbonates as environmentally-responsive materials for drug delivery applications.