Despite recent developments in controlled polymerization techniques, the straightforward synthesis of block copolymers that feature both strong anionic and charge-neutral segments remains a difficult endeavor. In particular, solubility issues may arise during the direct synthesis of strong amphiphiles and typical postpolymerization deprotection often requires harsh conditions. To overcome these challenges, we employed Cu(0)-mediated reversible deactivation radical polymerization (Cu(0)-RDRP) on a hydrophobic isobutoxy-protected 3-sulfopropyl acrylate. Cu(0)-RDRP enables the rapid synthesis of the polymer, reaching high conversions and low dispersities while using a single solvent system and low amounts of copper species. These macromolecules are straightforward to characterize and can subsequently be deprotected in a mild yet highly efficient fashion to expose their strongly charged nature. Furthermore, a protected sulfonate segment could be grown from a variety of charge-neutral macroinitiators to produce, after the use of the same deprotection chemistry, a library of amphiphilic, double-hydrophilic as well as thermoresponsive block copolymers (BCPs). The ability of these various BCPs to self-assemble in aqueous media was further studied by dynamic light scattering, ζ-potential measurements as well as atomic force and electron microscopy.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||19|
|Status||Published - 11-okt.-2022|