Synthesis, simulation, and self-assembly of a model amphiphile to push the limits of block polymer nanopatterning

Leonel Barreda, Zhengyuan Shen, Qile P. Chen, Timothy P Lodge, Ilja Siepmann, Marc A Hillmyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Efforts to create block-polymer-based templates with ultrasmall domain sizes has stimulated integrated experimental and theoretical work in an effort to design and prepare self-assembled systems that can achieve unprecedented domain sizes. We recently reported the utilization of molecular dynamics simulations with transferable force fields to identify amphiphilic oligomers capable of self-assembling into ordered layered and cylindrical morphologies with sub-3 nm domain sizes. Motivated by these predictions, we prepared a sugar-based amphiphile with a hydrocarbon tail that shows thermotropic self-assembly to give a lamellar mesophase with a 3.5 nm pitch and sub-2 nm nanodomains above the melting temperature and below the liquid-crystalline clearing temperature. Complementary atomistic simulations of the molecular assemblies gave morphologies and spacings that were in near-perfect agreement with the experimental results. The effective combination of molecular design, simulation, synthesis, and structural characterization demonstrates the power of this integrated approach for next-generation templating technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4458-4462
Number of pages5
JournalNano letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 10 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • Thermotropic
  • glycolipid
  • lamellar morphology
  • liquid crystal

MRSEC Support

  • Primary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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