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Block Co-PolyMOCs by Stepwise Self-Assembly

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journal contribution
posted on 27.07.2016, 00:00 authored by Yufeng Wang, Mingjiang Zhong, Jiwon V. Park, Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy, Weichao Shi, Jeremiah A. Johnson
We report a stepwise assembly strategy for the integration of metal–organic cages (MOCs) into block copolymers (BCPs). This approach creates “block co-polyMOC” (BCPMOC) materials whose microscopic structures and mechanical properties are readily tunable by adjusting the size and geometry of the MOCs and the composition of the BCPs. In the first assembly step, BCPs functionalized with a pyridyl ligand on the chain end form star-shaped polymers triggered by metal-coordination-induced MOC assembly. The type of MOC junction employed precisely determines the number of arms for the star polymer. In the second step, microphase separation of the BCP is induced, physically cross-linking the star polymers and producing the desired BCPMOC networks in the bulk or gel state. We demonstrate that large spherical M12L24 MOCs, small paddlewheel M2L4 MOCs, or a mixture of both can be incorporated into BCPMOCs to provide materials with tailored branch functionality, phase separation, microdomain spacing, and mechanical properties. Given the synthetic and functional diversity of MOCs and BCPs, our method should enable access to BCPMOCs for a wide range of applications.