2020 Impact factor 1.890
Soft Matter and Biological Physics
Open Access
Eur. Phys. J. E 10, 5-16 (2003)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/e2003-00009-x

Complex nanostructured materials from segmented copolymers prepared by ATRP

T. Kowalewski, R.D. McCullough and K. Matyjaszewski

Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Chemistry 4400 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, U.S.A.

(Received 9 July 2002 Published online: 11 March 2003 )

The development of new controlled/living radical polymerization processes, such as Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP) and other techniques such as nitroxide mediated polymerization and degenerative transfer processes, including RAFT, opened the way to the use of radical polymerization for the synthesis of well-defined, complex functional nanostructures. The development of such nanostructures is primarily dependent on self-assembly of well-defined segmented copolymers. This article describes the fundamentals of ATRP, relevant to the synthesis of such systems. The self-assembly of block copolymers prepared by ATRP is illustrated by three examples. In the first, block copolymers of poly(butyl acrylate) with polyacrylonitrile phase separate, leading to spherical, cylindrical or lamellar morphologies, depending on the block copolymer composition. At a higher temperature, polyacrylonitrile block converts to nanostructured carbon clusters, whereas poly(butyl acrylate) block serves as a sacrificial block, aiding the development of designed nanostructures. In the second example, conductive nanoribbons of poly(n-hexylthiophene) surrounded by a matrix of organic polymers are formed from block copolymers prepared by ATRP. The third example describes an inorganic-organic hybrid system consisting of hard nanocolloidal silica particles ( $\sim $20 nm) grafted by ATRP with well-defined polystyrene-poly(benzyl acrylate) block copolymer chains ( $\sim $1000 chains per particle). Silica cores in this system are surrounded by a rigid polystyrene inner shell and softer polyacrylate outer shell.

82.35.-x - Polymers: properties; reactions; polymerization.
81.07.-b - Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization.
83.80.Uv - Block copolymers.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2003