New micellar morphologies from amphiphilic block copolymers: disks, toroids and bicontinuous micelles
ArticleHolder, S.J. & Sommerdijk, N.A.J.M. (2011). New micellar morphologies from amphiphilic block copolymers: disks, toroids and bicontinuous micelles. Polymer Chemistry, 2(5), 1018-1028. In Scopus Cited 181 times.
Amphiphilic AB and ABA block copolymers have been demonstrated to form a variety of self-assembled aggregate structures in dilute solutions where the solvent preferentially solvates one of the blocks. The most common structures formed by these amphiphilic macromolecules are spherical micelles, cylindrical micelles and vesicles (polymersomes). Interest into the characterisation and controlled formation of block copolymer aggregates has been spurred on by their potential as surfactants, nano- to micro-sized carriers for active compounds, for the controlled release of encapsulated compounds and for inorganic materials templating, amongst numerous other proposed applications. Research in the past decade has focussed not only on manipulating the properties of aggregates through control of both the chemistry of the constituent polymer blocks but also the external and internal morphology of the aggregates. This review article will present an overview of recent approaches to controlling the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers with a view to obtaining novel micellar morphologies. Whilst the article touches upon multi-compartment micelles particular focus is placed upon control of the overall shape of micelles; i.e. those systems that expand the range of accessible morphologies beyond ‘simple’ spherical and cylindrical micelles namely disk-like, toroidal and bicontinuous micelles.