Microphase separation of highly amphiphilic, low N polymers by photoinduced copper-mediated polymerization, achieving sub-2 nm domains at half-pitch

Ellis Hancox, Evelina Liarou, James S. Town, Glen R. Jones, Siân A. Layton, Steven Huband, Martin J. Greenall, Paul D. Topham, David M. Haddleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The lower limit of domain size resolution using microphase separation of short poly(acrylic acid) homopolymers equipped with a short fluorinated tail, posing as an antagonist 'A block' in pseudo AB block copolymers has been investigated. An alkyl halide initiator with a fluorocarbon chain was utilized as a first 'A block' in the synthesis of low molecular weight polymers (1400-4300 g mol -1) using photoinduced Cu(ii)-mediated polymerization allowing for very narrow dispersity. Poly(tert-butyl acrylate) was synthesized and subsequently deprotected to give very low degrees of polymerization (N), amphiphilic polymers with low dispersity (D = 1.06-1.13). By exploiting the high driving force for demixing and the well-defined 'block' sizes, we are able to control the nanostructure in terms of domain size (down to 3.4 nm full-pitch) and morphology. This work demonstrates the simple and highly controlled synthesis of polymers to push the boundaries of the smallest achievable domain sizes obtained from polymer self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6254-6259
Number of pages6
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Volume10
Issue number46
Early online date13 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2019. This Open Access Article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 Unported Licence.

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    Hancox, E., Liarou, E., Town, J. S., Jones, G. R., Layton, S. A., Huband, S., Greenall, M. J., Topham, P. D., & Haddleton, D. M. (2019). Microphase separation of highly amphiphilic, low N polymers by photoinduced copper-mediated polymerization, achieving sub-2 nm domains at half-pitch. Polymer Chemistry, 10(46), 6254-6259. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9PY01312A