[en] The dynamic stability of the micellar aggregates formed by amphiphilic block copolymers, i.e., poly((dimethylamino)alkyl methacrylate-b-sodium methacrylate), has been investigated by steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy and size exclusion chromatography. The dynamics of exchange of block copolymer molecules between the micelles, formed in aqueous solution, depend on a manifold of factors, e.g., alkyl substituent in the hydrophobic block, the relation between the hydrophobic and hydrophilic blocks, and the architecture of the block copolymer. All copolymers investigated show a slow unimer exchange with an exchange rate constant on the order of 10-3 s-1, with a difference of a factor of 20 between the fastest and the slowest exchange. It is possible to tune the exchange rate in a controlled way; for instance, an extension or branching of the alkyl chain slows down the exchange rate. The same effect is observed when the hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance of these copolymers is increased or when either the hydrophilic or the hydrophobic moiety of diblocks is divided into two external blocks, leading to a triblock copolymer.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
Akzo Nobel N.V. ; The K. U. Leuven for a postdoctoral grant ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy