Amphiphilic block copolymer micelles have been intensively investigated and applied into various research fields for decades. One of the most promising characteristics for block copolymer micelles is the selective incorporation of metal precursors in the cores or coronas of the micelles. By combining with nanoporous membranes, aligned polymer nanostructures can be generated, facilitating the applications such as nanolithography and catalysis. The morphology transitions and controllability of block copolymer micelles in confined geometries, however, have seldom been studied. In addition, for hybrid micelles in which polymer segments are selectively incorporated with inorganic metal precursors, the relationship between hybridization and morphologies of polymer nanostructures in the confined states is still under discussion. In this work, we investigate the effects of annealing solvents and hybridization with metal precursors (gold(III) chloride trihydrate (HAuCl4 · 3H2O)) on the morphologies of polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) block copolymer micelles confined in the nanopores of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates. Tuned by the annealing solvent vapors and the selective ion complexation between HAuCl4 and P4VP cores, various morphologies can be effectively controlled, such as the spherical-micelles-in-rod morphology, the parallel-cylinders-in-rod morphology, and the hemispherical-micelles-in-rod morphology. This study not only investigates the effects of annealing solvent vapors and hybridization on the morphologies of block copolymer micelles confined in cylindrical nano-geometries but also offers a viable route for preparing metal nanoparticles embedded in porous templates.
|Journal||Reactive and Functional Polymers|
|State||Published - May 2020|
- Anodic aluminum oxide
- Block copolymer
- Solvent vapor annealing