By Cameron Chai
The Department of Polymer Materials of Shanghai University has revealed a new type of amphiphilic dendronized homopolymers.
It was reported that by modifying the homopolymers, they exhibit thermoresponsive characteristics and assume assembled secondary structures or self-arrange into structured permeable films. The research is published in the Issue 12 of SCIENCE CHINA Chem.
Majority of the amphiphilic polymers are block copolymers. In recent years, these structures have drawn investigation attention due to their capability to develop into adaptive superstructures through self-ordering. When compared to the synthesis of block polymers, homopolymers synthesis is much simpler. However, amphiphilic homopolymers have attracted less research attention. Every repeating unit of amphiphilic homopolymers includes hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups. This distinct arrangement may result in exclusive assembly methods.
Dendronization of a linear polymer minimizes the accomplishable backbone arrangements and a random coil polymer is converted into a cylindrical molecular entity, resulting in the development of a new type of nano-scale dendronized polymers. Integrating the structural features of amphiphilic homopolymers with dendronized polymers holds substantial promise for creating a new type of macrostructure with large hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties in every repeating unit.
In the current research work, the author developed three classes of new amphiphilic homopolymers derived from the concept of dendronized polymers. Hydrophilic oligo (ethylene glycol) (OEG)-based and hydrophobic proline-based dendrons were combined with a single repeating unit to develop amphiphilic macromonomers with chiral lysinol as central part.
The related polymers were obtained through free radical polymerization of the macromonomers. All polymers feature first generation OEG-based dendrons along with proline-derived dendrons of dissimilar generation, offering alterable amphiphilicity to polymers. At high temperatures, two of these polymers exhibit distinct hermoresponsiveness and remain water soluble at room temperature. The polymer with hydrophobic characteristics is not water soluble. But it can self-arrange into highly arranged permeable films through the ‘breath figure’ method. All polymers exhibit helical arrangements in solution.
A reviewer of SCIENCE CHINA Chem journal has stated that the research has widened the outcomes on amphiphilic homopolymers and dendronized polymers, offering a new concept to create innovative amphiphilic polymers.