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Tailorable Micelle Morphology in Self-Assembling Block Copolymer Gels for Templating Nanoporous Ceramics

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journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2020, 14:04 by John J. Bowen, Lisa M. Rueschhoff, Kara L. Martin, Dayton P. Street, Tulsi A. Patel, Maria J. S. Parvulescu, Nicholas M. Bedford, Hilmar Koerner, Soenke Seifert, Matthew B. Dickerson
The self-assembly of block copolymers offers opportunities for the facile organization and templating of inorganic nanomaterials. Here, we describe a morphology map for a poly­(methyl methacrylate)-b-poly­(n-butyl acrylate)-b-poly­(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA-b-PnBA-b-PMMA) block copolymer/polycarbosilane system that allows for tunable control over nanoscale micelle geometry via manipulation of the preceramic polymer content. We produced gels with spherical, wormlike, and bicontinuous morphologies, which were processed to create silicon carbide-based ceramic structures with tunable nanoscale porosities. The role of the constituent polymers in influencing the structure and rheology of this system is discussed. The PMMA-b-PnBA-b-PMMA block copolymer/preceramic polymer system offers a number of advantages including: (i) commercial availability, (ii) rapid self-assembly kinetics, and (iii) successful conversion of the self-assembled nanostructure to ceramic via pyrolysis. This system may be useful for catalytic, structural, or thermal applications in both industrial and academic settings because of its ease of use and relatively inexpensive reagents.