DOI: 10.3390/nano13162355 ISSN:

Synthesis of PDMS-μ-PCL Miktoarm Star Copolymers by Combinations (Є) of Styrenics-Assisted Atom Transfer Radical Coupling and Ring-Opening Polymerization and Study of the Self-Assembled Nanostructures

Yi-Shen Huang, Dula Daksa Ejeta, Kun-Yi (Andrew) Lin, Shiao-Wei Kuo, Tongsai Jamnongkan, Chih-Feng Huang
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemical Engineering

Due to their diverse and unique physical properties, miktoarm star copolymers (μ-SCPs) have garnered significant attention. In our study, we employed α-monobomoisobutyryl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS-Br) to carry out styrenics-assisted atom transfer radical coupling (SA ATRC) in the presence of 4-vinylbenzyl alcohol (VBA) at 0 °C. By achieving high coupling efficiency (χc = 0.95), we obtained mid-chain functionalized PDMS-VBAm-PDMS polymers with benzylic alcohols. Interestingly, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) analysis revealed the insertion of only two VBA coupling agents (m = 2). Subsequently, the PDMS-VBA2-PDMS products underwent mid-chain extensions using ε-caprolactone (ε-CL) through ring-opening polymerization (ROP) with an efficient organo-catalyst at 40 °C, resulting in the synthesis of novel (PDMS)2-μ-(PCL)2 μ-SCPs. Eventually, novel (PDMS)2-μ-(PCL)2 μ-SCPs were obtained. The obtained PDMS-μ-PCL μ-SCPs were further subjected to examination of their solid-state self-assembly through small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments. Notably, various nanostructures, including lamellae and hexagonally packed cylinders, were observed with a periodic size of approximately 15 nm. As a result, we successfully developed a simple and effective reaction combination (Є) strategy (i.e., SA ATRC-Є-ROP) for the synthesis of well-defined PDMS-μ-PCL μ-SCPs. This approach may open up new possibilities for fabricating nanostructures from siloxane-based materials.

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