Synthesis and self-assembly of amphiphilic hetero-arm molecular brushes
We report the synthesis of amphiphilic hetero-arm molecular brushes (AMBs), which were prepared by a combination of 'grafting from' and 'grafting onto' methodologies. First, styrene-terminated polyethylene glycol macromonomer (VB-PEG12, ∼666g mol-1) was copolymerized with maleic anhydride (MAnh) to yield a polymer containing hydrophilic PEG chains and reactive (MAnh) groups. Subsequently, the reactive MAnh units in the obtained polymer were modified via a ring-opening reaction using primary alkyl amines, with different alkyl chain lengths, as the nucleophile. In situ ring closure yielded the styrenemaleimide-based AMB. The amphiphilic character of the AMBs was used for their self-assembly in different solvents. The effect of the ratio in hydrophilic to hydrophobic graft length on the morphology of the assemblies was studied using scanning electron microscopy. © 2011 CSIRO.