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Star Architecture Promoting Morphological Transitions during Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly

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journal contribution
posted on 15.03.2017, 18:56 by Xiao Wang, C. Adrian Figg, Xiaoqing Lv, Yongqi Yang, Brent S. Sumerlin, Zesheng An
Polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) via reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) dispersion polymerization is an effective method to produce block copolymer nano-objects of various morphologies at high solids. However, current PISA formulations have been limited to linear block copolymers. We report the synthesis of AB2 star block copolymers via RAFT aqueous dispersion polymerization of diacetone acrylamide using a poly­(ethylene glycol) methyl ether bearing two chain transfer agents as the difunctional macromolecular chain transfer agent (macro-CTA), which was efficiently synthesized using 2,4,6-trichloro-1,3,5-triazine and activated esters to afford a high end functionality (97%). The star polymer architecture can significantly promote morphological transitions to obtain higher-order morphologies at both lower solids and lower degrees of polymerization of the core-forming block in comparison with its linear counterpart. This work demonstrates that polymer architecture is another important parameter that should be considered when conducting PISA synthesis to obtain complex morphologies.