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Order-to-Disorder Transitions in Lamellar Melt Self-Assembled Core–Shell Bottlebrush Polymers

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journal contribution
posted on 25.11.2019, 12:37 by Michael G. Karavolias, Jack B. Elder, Emily M. Ness, Mahesh K. Mahanthappa
We report the synthesis and melt self-assembly behaviors of densely grafted, core–shell bottlebrush (csBB) polymers derived from covalently linking narrow dispersity, symmetric composition ABA-type triblock polymers through their chain midpoints. Derived from sequential ring-opening polymerizations of ε-decalactone and rac-lactide initiated from 5-norbornene-2-exo,3-exo-dimethanol, poly­(lactide-block-ε-decalactone-block-lactide) macromonomers (Mn = 9.2–17.8 kg/mol; Đ = 1.19–1.25) were enchained by living ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) into csBBs with backbone degrees of polymerization Nbb = 8–43. Temperature-dependent small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) studies indicate that the critical triblock arm degree of polymerization (Narm) required for melt segregation decreases with increasing Nbb, leading to reductions in the accessible ordered lamellar microdomain (d) spacings. We derive a phenomenological relationship between the critical triblock arm segregation strength at the order–disorder transition (χNarm)ODT and Nbb to enable the future design of microphase separated core–shell bottlebrushes, which self-assemble at sub-10 nm length scales for nanolithography and nanotemplating applications.

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