3 years ago

Two-Dimensional Self-Assembled Structures of Highly Ordered Bioactive Crystalline-Based Block Copolymers

Two-Dimensional Self-Assembled Structures of Highly Ordered Bioactive Crystalline-Based Block Copolymers
Stephan Förster, Beate Förster, Markus Drechsler, Martin Dulle, Sylvia Ganda, Martina H. Stenzel
Viewing from the material design perspective, the sophistication of nature in generating materials with great precision provides opportunities to learn from in order to achieve the controlled generation of functional materials with well-defined architectures, ordered periodicity, and stability. Inspired by the two-dimensionality and surface chemistry of red blood cells and blood platelets, we attempted to implement the forces induced by crystallization and phase separation of amphiphilic carbohydrate-based crystalline-coil block copolymers to induce self-assembly generating two-dimensional (2D) lamellar platelet structures. With the current generation of functional 2D platelet structures via crystallization-driven self-assembly (CDSA) of block copolymers, transitioning the existing system into a biocompatible and bioactive system is mandatory in order to bring their functionality and applicability to another level. In this study, we introduce the crystallization-driven self-assembly of d-fructose-functionalized crystalline-coil block copolymers featuring poly(ε-caprolactone) as the crystallizable core-forming block. By fine-tuning the corona length and composition, we obtained 2D platelets ranging in the scale between nanometer (183 nm, length) to micrometer size range (2–4 μm, length), with the latter featuring intrinsically highly ordered core-crystalline structure of orthorhombic single crystals as observed by the means of electron microscopy techniques and selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) experiment. We discovered the platelet structures to grow epitaxially through the addition of free polymer, forming supersized hexagonal 2D platelets (ca. 19–21 μm), in a process akin to the growth of living polymers. The seeded growth of these platelets suggests a memory effect, providing a platform for further hierarchical self-assembly and functionalization. The overall approach presents a facile strategy in fabricating the increasingly important colloidally stable bioinspired 2D structures with characteristic features and functional properties.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.macromol.7b01453

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.7b01453

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