Structure of poly(styrene-b-ethylene-alt-propylene) diblock copolymer micelles in squalane

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Abstract

The temperature dependence of the micellar structures formed by poly(styrene-b-ethylene-alt-propylene) (SEP) diblock copolymers in squalane, a highly selective solvent for the PEP blocks, has been studied using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Four SEP diblock copolymers were prepared by sequential anionic polymerization of styrene and isoprene, followed by hydrogenation of the isoprene blocks, to yield SEP( 17-73), SEP(26-66), SEP(36-69), and SEP(42-60), where the numbers indicate block molecular weights in kDa. AU four polymers formed well-defined spherical micelles. In dilute solution, DLS provided the temperature-dependent mean hydrodynamic radius, Rb, and its distribution, while detailed fitting of the SAXS profiles gave the core radius, Rc, the equivalent hard sphere radius, Rhs, and an estimate of the aggregation number, N agg. In general, the micelles became smaller as the critical micelle temperature (CMT) was approached, which was well above the glass transition of the core block. As concentration increased the micelles packed onto body centered cubic lattices for all four copolymers, which underwent order-disorder transitions upon heating near the dilute solution CMTs. The results are discussed in terms of current understanding of block copolymer solution self-assembly, and particular attention is paid to the issue of equilibration, given the high glass transition temperature of the core block.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13840-13848
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Volume113
Issue number42
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2009

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