Monodisperse Cylindrical Micelles and Block Comicelles of Controlled Length in Aqueous Media

Ali Nazemi, Charlotte E Boott, David J Lunn, Jessica Gwyther, Dominic W Hayward, Robert M Richardson, Mitchell Winnik, Ian Manners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)
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Cylindrical block copolymer micelles have shown considerable promise in various fields of biomedical research. However, unlike spherical micelles and vesicles, control over their dimensions in biologically-relevant solvents has posed a key challenge that potentially limits in depth studies and their optimisation for applications. Here, we report the preparation of cylindrical micelles of length in the wide range of 40 nm – 1.10 µm in aqueous media with narrow length distributions (length polydispersities < 1.10). In our approach, an amphiphilic linear-brush block copolymer, with high potential for functionalization, was synthesized based on poly(ferrocenyldimethylsilane)-b-poly(allyl glycidyl ether) (PFS-b-PAGE) decorated with triethylene glycol (TEG), abbreviated as PFS-b-(PEO-g-TEG). PFS-b-(PEO-g-TEG) cylindrical micelles of controlled length with low polydispersities were prepared in N,N-dimethylformamide using small seed initiators via living crystallization-driven self-assembly. Successful dispersion of these micelles into aqueous media was achieved by dialysis against deionized water. Furthermore, B-A-B amphiphilic triblock comicelles with PFS-b-poly(2-vinylpyridine) (P2VP) as hydrophobic “B” blocks and hydrophilic PFS-b-(PEO-g-TEG) “A” segments were prepared and their hierarchical self-assembly in aqueous media studied. It was found that superstructures formed depend on the length of the hydrophobic blocks. Quaternization of P2VP was shown to cause the disassembly of the superstructures, resulting in the first examples of water-soluble cylindrical multi-block comicelles. We also demonstrate the ability of the triblock comicelles with quaternized terminal segments to complex DNA and, thus, to potentially function as gene vectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4484–4493
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
Early online date22 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2016

Structured keywords

  • BCS and TECS CDTs


  • cylindrical micelles
  • Block comicelles


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