Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Vol.55, No.18, 3058-3066, 2017
Spontaneous Evolution of Nanostructures by Light-Driven Growth of Micelles Obtained from In Situ Nanoparticlization of Conjugated Polymers
To simplify processes to produce self-assembled nanostructures from polymeric materials, there have been several attempts for in situ self-assembly of block copolymers. As one of these strategies, we developed the in situ nanoparticlization of conjugated polymers (INCP) process to construct various stable nanostructures without postsynthetic treatments. To get spontaneous mesoscopic evolution of the nanostructures obtained by INCP, a new strategy utilizing a unique conformational change of the conjugated polymer is reported herein. The combination of living ring-opening olefin metathesis polymerization (ROMP) and cyclopolymerization produced block and gradient copolymers through one-pot or one-shot polymerization, which initially formed spherical micelles via INCP. Then, the core block of the micelle stiffened through a coil-to-rod conformational change by simple aging in organic solvents because of cis-to-trans isomerization of the conjugated polymer under light. Subsequently, this enhanced the p-p interaction among the cores, and eventually promoted the growth of stable nanostructures from spheres to 1D-nanocaterpillars or 2D-sheet-like architectures. This time-dependent macroscopic evolution provides deeper insight into the production of a variety of kinetically fixed nano-and mesoscale structures through INCP. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.