Macromolecules, Vol.46, No.19, 7911-7919, 2013
Competition Between Steric Hindrance and Hydrogen Bonding in the Formation of Supramolecular Bottle Brush Polymers
The formation of supramolecular bottle-brush polymers consisting of a noncovalent backbone assembled through directional hydrogen bonds and of poly(isobutylene) (PIB) side-chains was investigated in cyclohexane by light scattering. Two limiting cases were observed depending on the balance between the favorable formation of hydrogen bonds and the unfavorable stretching of the PIB chains within the supramolecular bottle-brushes, in agreement with a theoretical model developed by Wang et al. On one hand, a bisurea self-assembling unit able to form four cooperative hydrogen bonds per molecule led to relatively short supramolecular bottle-brushes, the length of which could be varied by modifying steric hindrance or by using solvent mixtures. On the other hand, supramolecular bottle-brush polymers exhibiting persistent lengths of more than 300 nm could be obtained by using trisureas that are able to form six hydrogen bonds per molecule. Their easy synthesis and the fact that it is possible to control their self-assembly into long supramolecular bottle-brush polymers make polymer-decorated bisureas and trisureas an attractive alternative to cyclopeptides and shape-persistent rings for the creation of supramolecular nanostructures.