Patchy Micelles with a Crystalline Core: Self-Assembly Concepts, Properties, and Applications
Crystallization-driven self-assembly (CDSA) of block copolymers bearing one crystallizable block has emerged to be a powerful and highly relevant method for the production of one- and two-dimensional micellar assemblies with controlled length, shape, and corona chemistries. This gives access to a multitude of potential applications, from hierarchical self-assembly to complex superstructures, catalysis, sensing, nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, and surface functionalization. Related to these applications, patchy crystalline-core micelles, with their unique, nanometer-sized, alternating corona segmentation, are highly interesting, as this feature provides striking advantages concerning interfacial activity, functionalization, and confinement effects. Hence, this review aims to provide an overview of the current state of the art with respect to self-assembly concepts, properties, and applications of patchy micelles with crystalline cores formed by CDSA. We have also included a more general discussion on the CDSA process and highlight block-type co-micelles as a special type of patchy micelle, due to similarities of the corona structure if the size of the blocks is well below 100 nm.