Polymeric surfactants: Novel agents with exceptional properties
This article presents recent progress in the field of polymeric surfactants made of permanently amphiphilic block copolymers or of stimulus-sensitive ones. We highlight key points in the design of amphiphilic macromolecules, to yield polymer surfactants with tailor-made properties, as well as recently developed and still challenging application fields for this new class of surfactants. The efficiency boosting of amphiphilic block copolymers as co-surfactants in microemulsions is discussed, as are surface modification by polymer surfactants, and stabilization of dispersions. Moreover, the use of block copolymers in nanosciences is presented, for instance as a tool for nanomaterial fabrication, or for biomedical and cosmetic applications in bio-nanotechnology. Finally, self-assembly and applications of some newly developed "exotic" amphiphilic block copolymer structures as new surface-active materials will be highlighted.