Multicompartment micelles from polyester-containing ABC miktoarm star terpolymers

Naohiko Saito, Chun Liu, Timothy P. Lodge, Marc A. Hillmyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Well-defined μ-[poly(ethylethylene)][poly(ethylene oxide)][poly(γ- methy 1-ε-caprolactone)] (μ-EOC) miktoarm star terpolymers were prepared by a combination of two successive living anionic polymerizations and one controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP). A mid-hydroxyl-functionalized poly(ethylethylene)-block-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEE-PEO) diblock copolymer served as a macroinitiator for the aluminum-mediated ROP of γ-methyl- ε-caprolactone (MCL), leading to a family of μ-EOC triblock copolymers having monomodal molecular weight distributions and controlled PMCL weight fractions. Micelle structures formed in water from μ-EOC containing various lengths of PMCL were examined by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and dynamic light scattering. Increasing the fraction of hydrophobic PMCL resulted in a transition from spherical to wormlike to approximately spherical micelles. Although the multicompartment cores of the μ-EOC micelles could not be directly resolved by cryo-TEM, small-angle X-ray scattering analysis of a representative PEE-PMCL diblock copolymer showed clear microphase separation, strongly suggesting the existence of multicompartment cores in the μ-EOC micelles. We speculate that the transition of μ-EOC micelles from worms to spheres can be attributed to the connection of the three immiscible blocks at one junction and documented micellar transitions in analogous PMCL-PEO diblock micelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8815-8822
Number of pages8
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 25 2008


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