The Synthesis And Characterization Of Amphiphilic Linear Homopolymers And Approach Towards The Synthesis Of Amphipihilic Homopolymers With Complex Architectures
Amphiphilic polymers are a subset of macromolecules that exhibit both hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties within their covalently bonded structures. Because of the differing solubilities of the contrasting regions of the amphiphilic polymers, they exhibit an inherent ability to self-assemble in the solution phase where one block exhibits poor compatibility with the solvent. And by tuning the composition, size and shape of the polymers, a variety of morphologies of the assembly in solution were observed, like spherical micelle, vesicle, rod-like and lamellar. The propensity to self-assemble to complex structures makes them promising candidates in wide varieties of applications, for example, drug delivery, gene transfection, catalyst, and sensing. Nowadays, most of the researches of amphiphilic polymers have been focused on simple linear di-block copolymers. Amphiphilic non-linear architectures, like dendrimers, star polymers, hyperbranched polymers, brush polymers and cyclic polymers, have been proved to exhibit unique properties compare to their linear analogs, such as lower critical micelle concentrations and better-assembled strengths because the structures are covalently tethered together. These unique properties make them a particularly attractive vehicle in drug/gene delivery. However, investigations of the amphiphilic homopolymers are limited and the majority of work have been done is focused on charged polymers, anionic or cationic. The amphiphilic ionic homopolymers largely relied on the pH of the solution to assemble into complex morphologies, perturbation of pH could result in deformation of assemblies and pro-release of encapsulate. Also, extremely severe pH environment prohibit the usages of the amphiphilic polymers in biological systems. Well defined non-ionic amphiphilic linear homopolymers bearing hydrophobic decyl groups and hydrophilic tri(ethylene glycol) monomethyl ether groups was synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization technique and the structures were confirmed by NMR and GPC. The low polyedispersity polymers, were found to readily self-assembled to form micelles in non-polar organic phase and reverse micelles in polar aqueous phase. The assemblies were studied with UV-vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, and transmission electron microscopy to determine the critical micelle concentrations and assembly size in both conditions. The synthesis towards more complex architectures of the homopolymers was also investigated.