Molecular exchange in diblock copolymer micelles: Bimodal distribution in core-block molecular weights

J. Lu, S. Choi, F. S. Bates, T. P. Lodge

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The role of core block size dispersity on the rate of molecular exchange in spherical micelles formed from 1% by volume poly(styrene-b-ethylenepropylene) (PS-PEP) diblock copolymers in squalane (C30H62) was investigated using timeresolved small-angle neutron scattering (TR-SANS). Separate copolymer solutions (total polymer 1% by volume) containing either deuterium labeled (dPS) or normal (hPS) poly(styrene) core blocks were prepared and mixed at room temperature, below the core glass transition temperature. Each preparation (dPS or hPS) contained equal volume fractions of Mn = 26 and 42 kg/mol (h-equivalent) poly(styrene) blocks. Heating to temperatures between 87 and 146°C resulted in block copolymer exchange as evidenced by a systematic reduction in the SANS intensity; C30H62 and C 30D62 were blended so as to contrast match the fully exchanged cores. Following a protocol established in a previous report, the time-dependent intensity data were shifted with respect to time and temperature, leading to a master curve covering nearly 7 orders of magnitude in reduced time. These results are quantitatively accounted for by summing the weighted relaxation functions obtained from the individual components, consistent with a previously published model that accounts for the dramatic sensitivity of the molecular exchange dynamics to core block dispersity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-985
Number of pages4
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 21 2012


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