American Chemical Society
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Shape Transformations of Vesicles Self-Assembled from Amphiphilic Hyperbranched Multiarm Copolymers via Simulation

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posted on 2018-08-09, 00:00 authored by Haina Tan, Shanlong Li, Ke Li, Chunyang Yu, Zhongyuan Lu, Yongfeng Zhou
The understanding of shape transformations of vesicles is of fundamental importance in biological and clinical sciences. Hyperbranched polymer vesicles (branched polymersomes) are newly emerging polymer vesicles with special structure and property. They have also been regarded as a good model for biomembranes. However, the shape transformations of hyperbranched polymer vesicles have not been studied from either an experimental or theoretical level. Herein, the shape transformations of vesicles self-assembled from amphiphilic hyperbranched multiarm copolymers (HMCs) in response to the interaction parameters between the hydrophobic core and hydrophilic arms and the polymer concentrations are investigated carefully through dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulations. In the morphological phase diagram, two types of vesicles are obtained: one type corresponds to vesicles without holes formed at low concentrations including unilamellar vesicles, double-lamellar vesicles, discocyte-shaped vesicles, and tubular vesicles, and the other type corresponds to vesicles with holes formed at high concentrations including stomatocyte-shaped vesicles, toroidal vesicles, genus-3 (G-3) toroidal vesicles with three holes, and genus-4 (G-4) toroidal vesicles with four holes. In addition, both the self-assembly mechanisms and the dynamics for the formation of these vesicles have been systematically studied. The current work will offer theoretical support for fabricating novel vesicles with various shapes from hyperbranched polymers.