Block copolymer micelle shuttles with tunable transfer temperatures between ionic liquids and aqueous solutions

Zhifeng Bai, Yiyong He, Timothy P. Lodge

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54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four poly ((1,2-butadiene)-block-ethylene oxide) (PB-PEO) diblock copolymers were shown to self-assemble into micelles with PB cores and PEO coronas (including spheres, cylinders, and vesicles) in the ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([EMIM][TFSI]). All four systems exhibited the "micelle shuttle" (He, Y.; Lodge, T. P. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 12666-12667), whereby PB-PEO micelles transferred, reversibly and with preservation of micelle structure, from an aqueous phase at room temperature to a hydrophobic ionic liquid at high temperature. The micelle size (both mean and distribution) depends on whether it was initially dissolved in water or in the ionic liquid, but the initial micelle structures in the ionic liquid were shown by dynamic light scattering to be preserved during the transfer and persist essentially unchanged for months in both the ionic liquid and water. The transfer was shown to be driven by the deteriorating solvent quality of water for PEO at high temperature, while the ionic liquid remains a good solvent. The transfer temperature could be tuned by adding ionic or nonionic additives to the aqueous phase to change the solvent quality of water for PEO, and by using ionic liquids with different polarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5284-5290
Number of pages7
JournalLangmuir
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2008

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