Synthetic cell elements from block copolymers - Hydrodynamic aspects

Paul Dalhaimer, Frank S. Bates, Helim Aranda-Espinoza, Dennis Discher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Amphiphilic block copolymers can self-assemble in water into various stable morphologies which resemble key cell structures, notably filaments and membranes. Filamentous 'worms' of copolymer, microns-long, are briefly introduced, and related dynamics of copolymer vesicle 'polymersomes' are reviewed. Fluorescence visualization of single worms stretched under flow demonstrates their stability as well as a means to control conformation. Polymersome membranes have been more thoroughly studied, especially copolymer molecular weight effects. We summarize results suggestive of a transition from Rouse-like behavior to entangled chains. Viewed together, the results ask the question: what physics are needed next to mimic cell activities such as crawling?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalComptes Rendus Physique
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Block copolymer
  • Polymersome
  • Vesicles
  • Worm micelles


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