ma4006846_si_001.pdf (1.21 MB)
Sticky Supramolecular Grafts Stretch Single Polymer Chains
journal contributionposted on 2013-05-28, 00:00 authored by Martijn A. J. Gillissen, Takaya Terashima, E. W. Meijer, Anja R. A. Palmans, Ilja K. Voets
The folding of single polymeric chains into single chain polymeric nanoparticles (SCPNs) is a unique strategy to prepare ordered structures at the nanoscopic level. Structure forming elements are attached to a polymer chain designed to fold it into a well-defined object, the SCPN. The self-assembly of these units has been investigated in great detail. However, little is known about the impact of the resulting secondary structure on the conformation of the polymer chain. Here we employ a combination of scattering methods and spectroscopy to study how pendant chiral benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamides (BTAs) fold oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate-based polymers into SCPNs. Circular dichroism spectroscopy shows that the extent of BTA self-assembly on the polymer chain in water can be fine-tuned by means of temperature and cosolvent addition (isopropanol). Small-angle neutron scattering experiments demonstrate that single polymer chains have an asymmetric shape with a constant cross section, Rcs, and variable length, L, with L > Rcs. The polymer chain extends and shortens in response to variations in temperature and solvent composition, which also influence the self-assembly of the BTA units. The SCPNs stretch upon association and shrink upon disassociation of the grafted supramolecular moieties.