3 years ago

Inorganic Nanoparticle Induced Morphological Transition for Confined Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers within Emulsion Droplets

Inorganic Nanoparticle Induced Morphological Transition for Confined Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers within Emulsion Droplets
Yuexin Hu, Yun He, Yutian Zhu, Yan Zhang, Nan Yan
Recently, it has been reported that the incorporation of functional inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) into the three-dimensional (3D) confined self-assembly of block copolymers (BCPs) creates the unique nanostructured hybrid composites, which can not only introduce new functions to BCPs but also induce some interesting morphological transitions of BCPs. In the current study, we systematically investigate the cooperative self-assembly of a series of size-controlled and surface chemistry-tunable gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and polystyrene-b-poly(2-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P2VP) diblock copolymer within the emulsion droplets. The influences of the size, content, and surface chemistry of the AuNPs on the coassembled nanostructures as well as the spatial distribution of AuNPs in the hybrid particles are examined. It is found that the size and content of the AuNPs are related to the entropic interaction, while the surface chemistry of AuNPs is related to the enthalpic interaction, which can be utilized to tailor the self-assembled morphologies of block copolymer confined in the emulsion droplets. As the content of PS-coated AuNPs increases, the morphology of the resulting AuNPs/PS-b-P2VP hybrid particles changes from the pupa-like particles to the bud-like particles and then to the onion-like particles. However, a unique morphological transition from the pupa-like particles to the mushroom-like particles is observed as the content of P4VP-coated AuNPs increases. More interestingly, it is observed that the large AuNPs are expelled to the surface of the BCP particles to reduce the loss in the conformational entropy of the block segment, which can arrange into the strings of necklaces on the surfaces of the hybrid particles.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b06701

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b06701

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