Solvent selectivity governed self-assembly of block copolymer in nanofabrication

Guoxing Liao, Lei Chen, Yunie Zhang, Oleksandr O. Mykhaylyk, Paul Topham, Daniel T.W. Toolan, Matthew Derry, Jonathan R. Howse, Qianqian Yu, Guiji Feng, Linge Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Block copolymer-based nanoproducts including particles, fibers and films show promise in high-end applications including nanotemplating, nanolithography, and nanoporous membranes due to their advantageous self-assembled structure. However, few studies probe the nanofabrication process in detail and monitor the concomitant self-assembled structural transitions. Herein, time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is exploited to follow such nanostructural changes. Evaporation-induced casting, electrospraying or electrospinning, followed by a final solvent vapor annealing step, have been used to create a series of nanoproducts with reversibly tunable morphologies from a model block copolymer, polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-polystyrene (SEBS). During evaporation-induced casting, which is considered as an unconfined system, a selective (co)solvent system composed of tetrahydrofuran (THF) and dimethylformamide (DMF) can lead to the formation of various SEBS structures. For DMF-based unconfined systems, the final SEBS lamellar structures were found to be different from the structure formed from THF only, demonstrating the critical role of solvent selection in evaporation-induced casting. The comparison of SEBS electrospun fibers reveals the unique and complex self-assembled structural transition occurring in a confined system. Time-resolved SAXS studies of our model triblock copolymer provide guidelines for a more general approach to access various nanostructures from self-assembling block copolymers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126205
Number of pages9
Early online date19 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, Elsevier. This accepted manuscript version is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Block copolymers
  • Nanofabrication
  • Self-assembly
  • Time-resolved SAXS


Dive into the research topics of 'Solvent selectivity governed self-assembly of block copolymer in nanofabrication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this