Electrospun Polymer Nanofibers with Internal Periodic Structure Obtained by Microphase Separation of Cylindrically Confined Block Copolymers
journal contributionposted on 13.12.2006, 00:00 by Minglin Ma, Vahik Krikorian, Jian H. Yu, Edwin L. Thomas, Gregory C. Rutledge
Continuous fibers are described having concentric layer or aligned sphere microphase-separated, styrene-isoprene block copolymer morphologies. The fibers are obtained by a two-fluid coaxial electrospinning technique in which the desired block copolymer is encapsulated as the core component within a polymer shell having a high glass transition temperature (Tg). The fibers range in diameter from 300 to 800 nm, and the block copolymer core ranges from 50 to 500 nm. Subsequent annealing of the fibers above the upper Tg of the block copolymer but below the Tg of the shell polymer results in microphase separation of the block copolymer under cylindrical confinement. The resulting fibers exhibit improved long-range order. This two-step strategy creates the opportunity to fabricate continuous nanofibers with periodic internal structure.