Rachel O'Reilly, professor of polymer chemistry, head of the School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham
"Precision polymer nanostructures"
Crystallization-driven self-assembly (CDSA) is a novel tool in the solution polymer self-assembly toolbox and has been utilized to create an impressive range of hierarchical block copolymer structures. Unlike in conventional solution self-assembly, where the range of morphologies obtained are determined by varying the relative block composition of each block, in polymers assembled via CDSA, the formation of micelles with low interfacial curvature is favored. However, despite advances in CDSA there are relatively few examples where the aggregate morphology can be readily controlled to form nanostructures whose size can be controlled in 2 dimensions. In this work we present the CDSA of a range of block copolymers (including PLLA and PCL) which form a range of self-assembled nanostructures including 2D nanostructures. Using these we have further explored the design rules for the synthesis of such 2D nanomaterials and demonstrated their epitaxial growth, which highlights their potential as biocompatible nanomaterials.