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Amphiphilic dual brush block copolymers as "giant surfactants" and their aqueous self-assembly

: Zehm, D.; Laschewsky, A.; Gradzielski, M.; Prevost, S.; Liang, H.; Rabe, J.P.; Schweins, R.; Gummel, J.


Langmuir. The ACS journal of surfaces and colloids 26 (2010), No.5, pp.3145-3155
ISSN: 0743-7463
ISSN: 1520-5827
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Amphiphilic dual brush diblock as well as symmetrical triblock polymers were synthesized by the overlay of the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer and the nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP) techniques. While poly(ethylene glycol) brushes served as hydrophilic block, the hydrophobic block was made of polystyrene brushes. The resulting "giant surfactants" correspond structurally to the established amphiphilic diblock and triblock copolymer known as macrosurfactants. The aggregation behavior of the novel "giant surfactants" in aqueous solution was studied by dynamic light scattering, small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) over a large range in reciprocal space. Further, the self-assembled aggregates Were investigated by scanning force microscopy (SFM) after deposition on differently functionalized ultraflat solid substrates. Despite the high fraction of hydrophobic segments, the polymers form stable mesoscopic, spherical aggregates with hydrodynamic diameters in the range of 150-350 nm. Though prepared from well-defined individual polymers, the aggregates show several similarities to hard core latexes. They are stable enough to he deposited without much changes onto surfaces, where they cluster and show Spontaneous sorting according to their size within the clusters, with the larger aggregates being in the center.