Self-Assembling Morphologies Obtained from Helical Polycarbodiimide Copolymers and Their Triazole Derivatives


A facile method for the preparation of polycarbodiimide-based secondary structures (e. g., nano-rings, "craters," fibers, looped fibers, fibrous networks, ribbons, worm-like aggregates, toroidal structures, and spherical particles) is described. These aggregates are morphologically influenced by extensive hydrophobic side chain-side chain interactions of the singular polycarbodiimide strands, as inferred by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Polycarbodiimide-g-polystyrene copolymers (PS-PCDs) were prepared by a combination of synthetic methods, including coordination-insertion polymerization, copper(I)-catalyzed azide alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) "click" chemistry, and atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). PS-PCDs were found to form specific toroidal architectures at low concentrations in CHCl3. To determine the influence of a more polar solvent medium (i. e., THF and THF/EtOH) on polymer aggregation behavior, a number of representative PS-PCD composites have been tested to show discrete concentration-dependent spherical particles. These fundamental studies are of practical interest to the development of experimental procedures for desirable architectures by directed self-assembly in thin film. These architectures may be exploited as drug carriers, whereas other morphological findings represent certain interest in the area of novel functional materials.



Thin films, Atomic force microscopy, Scanning electron microscopy, Polystyrene, Catalysis, Triazoles

NSF-MRI grant (CHE-1126177)


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