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Self-assembly induced by complexation of diblock copolyelectrolytes and oppositely charged homopolymers

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  • Special Issue: Charged Polymers
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Abstract

We investigate the solution self-assembly of a mixture of positively charged homopolymers and AB diblock copolymers, in which the A blocks are negatively charged, and the B blocks are neutral. The electrostatic complexation between oppositely charged polymers drives the formation of many ordered phases. The microstructures and phase diagrams are calculated using self-consistent field theory (SCFT) based on an ion-pair model with an equilibrium constant K to characterize the strength of binding between positively and negatively charged monomers. The effects of the charge ratio, representing the ratio of charges from the homopolymer over all charges from polymers in the system, on the ordered structure are systematically studied, both for hydrophobic and hydrophilic A blocks. The charge ratio plays an important role in determining the phase boundaries in the phase diagram of salt concentration versus polymer concentration. We also provide information about the varying tendency of the domain spacing and core size of the spherical phase when the charge ratio is changed, and the results are in good agreement with experiments. These studies provide a deep understanding of the self-assembled microstructures of oppositely charged diblock copolymer-homopolymer systems.

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Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Nos. 22073002, 51921002 and 22373008).

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Zhao, L., Yin, ZY., Jiang, JD. et al. Self-assembly induced by complexation of diblock copolyelectrolytes and oppositely charged homopolymers. Chin J Polym Sci (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10118-024-3080-1

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