|512. Löbling, T.I.; Ikkala, O.; Gröschel, A.H.; Müller, A.H.E.: Controlling Multicompartment Morphologies Using Solvent Conditions and Chemical Modification, ACS Macro Letters 5, 1044–1048 (2016) -- DOI: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.6b00559|
The solution self-assembly of amphiphilic diblock copolymers into spheres, cylinders and vesicles (polymersomes) has been intensely studied over the past two decades and their morphological behavior is well understood. Linear ABC triblock terpolymers with two insoluble blocks A/B, on the other hand, display a richer and more complex morphological spectrum that has been recently explored by synthetic block length variations. Here, we describe facile post-polymerization routes to tailor ABC triblock terpolymer solution morphologies by altering block solubility (solvent mixtures), blending with homopolymers, and block-selective chemical reactions. The feasibility of these processes is demonstrated on polystyrene-block-polybutadiene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (SBM) that assembles to patchy spherical micelles, which can be modified to evolve into double and triple helices, or patchy and striped vesicles. These results demonstrate that post-polymerization treatments give access to a broad range of morphologies from single triblock terpolymers without the need for multiple polymer syntheses.