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Formation and Structural Characteristics of Thermosensitive Multiblock Copolymer Vesicles

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journal contribution
posted on 23.12.2013, 00:00 by Shiying Ma, Mengying Xiao, Rong Wang
The spontaneous vesicle formation of ABABA-type amphiphilic multiblock copolymers bearing thermosensitive hydrophilic A-block in a selective solvent is studied using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) approach. The formation process of vesicle through nucleation and growth pathway is observed by varying the temperature. The simulation results show that spherical micelle takes shape at high temperature. As temperature decreases, vesicles with small aqueous cavity appear and the cavity expands as well as the membrane thickness decreases with the temperature further decreasing. This finding is in agreement with the experimental observation. Furthermore, by continuously varying the temperature and the length of the hydrophobic block, a phase diagram is constructed, which can indicate the thermodynamically stable region for vesicles. The morphological phase diagram shows that vesicles can form in a larger parameter scope. The relationship between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic block length versus the aqueous cavity size and vesicle size are revealed. Simulation results demonstrate that the copolymers with shorter hydrophobic blocks length or the higher hydrophilicity are more likely to form vesicles with larger aqueous cavity size and vesicle size as well as thinner wall thickness. However, the increase in A-block length results to form vesicles with smaller aqueous cavity size and larger vesicle size.