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Open AccessArticle

Mesoscopic Detection of the Influence of a Third Component on the Self-Assembly Structure of A2B Star Copolymer in Thin Films

by Dan Mu 1,2,3,*, Jian-Quan Li 4, Xing-Shun Cong 1 and Han Zhang 1
1
College of Chemistry Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang 277160, China
2
Advanced Photonics Center, Southeast University, 2# Sipailou, Nanjing 210096, China
3
Zaozhuang Key Laboratory of Functional Materials, Zaozhuang 277160, China
4
Opto-Electronic Engineering College, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang 277160, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101636
Received: 10 September 2019 / Revised: 4 October 2019 / Accepted: 8 October 2019 / Published: 10 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simulations of Polymers II)
The most common self-assembly structure for A2B copolymer is the micellar structure with B/A segments being the core/corona, which greatly limits its application range. Following the principle of structure deciding the properties, a reformation in the molecular structure of A2B copolymer is made by appending three segments of a third component C with the same length to the three arms, resulting (AC)2CB 3-miktoarm star terpolymer. A reverse micellar structure in self-assembly is expected by regulating the C length and the pairwise repulsive strength of C to A/B, aiming to enrich its application range. Keeping both A and B lengths unchanged, when the repulsion strength of C to A is much stronger than C to B, from the results of mesoscopic simulations we found, with a progressive increase in C length, (AC)2CB terpolymer undergoes a transition in self-assembled structures, from a cylindrical structure with B component as the core, then to a deformed lamellar structure, and finally to a cylindrical structure with A component as the core. This reverse micellar structure is formed with the assistance of appended C segments, whose length is longer than half of B length, enhancing the flexibility of three arms, and further facilitating the aggregation of A component into the core. These results prove that the addition of a third component is a rational molecular design, in conjunction with some relevant parameters, enables the manufacturing of the desired self-assembly structure while avoiding excessive changes in the involved factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: reverse micellar structure; copolymer; self-assembly; third component; thin film reverse micellar structure; copolymer; self-assembly; third component; thin film
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mu, D.; Li, J.-Q.; Cong, X.-S.; Zhang, H. Mesoscopic Detection of the Influence of a Third Component on the Self-Assembly Structure of A2B Star Copolymer in Thin Films. Polymers 2019, 11, 1636.

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