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Planet–Satellite Micellar Superstructures Formed by ABCB Terpolymers in Solution

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2017, 15:05 by Chao Duan, Weihua Li, Feng Qiu, An-Chang Shi
The occurrence and relative stability of planet–satellite nanostructures, composed of a host micelle (the planet) accompanied by a number of guest micelles (the satellites), in ABCB tetrablock terpolymer solutions are studied using the polymeric self-consistent field theory and dissipative particle dynamics simulations. The theoretical results demonstrate that the self-assembly of the ABCB tetrablock terpolymers with solvophobic A- and C-blocks and solvophilic B-blocks could lead to the formation of various planet−satellite superstructures, where the planet and satellites are composed of the A- and C-blocks, respectively. Furthermore, the number of satellites is controlled by the ratio of the two B-blocks. The arrangement of the satellites surrounding the planet resembles the solution of the well-known Thomson’s problem concerning the optimum arrangement of a given number of electrons on a sphere. Besides providing a facile route to engineering novel multicompartment micelles with planet−satellite superstructures for potential advanced applications, the study strengthens the prospect that multiblock copolymers could become a useful platform for the fabrication of complex nanostructures.