Self-Assembly of Poly(ionic liquid)s: Polymerization, Mesostructure Formation, and Directional Alignment in One Step

This paper reports on the highly ordered and tunable inner structure of poly(ionic liquid) nanoparticles, which formed spontaneously by precipitation polymerization from water. Without added stabilizer, these “latexes” are much smaller (20–40 nm in diameter) than usual polymer latexes and exhibit either multilamellar or unilamellar vesicular morphology, depending on the tail length of the quaternizing alkyl chains. The simplicity in the synthesis and composition and the high complexity of the ordered structures that resemble liposomes expand the classical profile of homopolymer self-assembly. In addition, unidirectional superassembly to a nanoworm mesostructure is found at elevated concentrations, indicating that the ionic liquid liposomes are apt to integrate into further hierarchical assembly schemes.