Stimulus-Responsive Self-Assembly: Reversible, Redox-Controlled Micellization of Polyferrocenylsilane Diblock Copolymers

Jean-Charles Eloi, David A. Rider, Graeme Cambridge, George R. Whittell, Mitchell A. Winnik, Ian Manners

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

120 Citations (Scopus)


In depth studies of the use of electron transfer reactions as a means to control the self-assembly of diblock copolymers with an electroactive metalloblock are reported. Specifically, the redox-triggered self-assembly of a series of polystyrene-block-polyferrocenylsilane (PS-b-PFS) diblock copolymers in dichloromethane solution is described. In the case of the amorphous polystyrene(n)-b-poly(ferrocenylphenylmethylsilane)(m) diblock copolymers (PSn-b-PFMPSm: n = 548, m = 73; n = 71, m = 165; where n and m are the number-averaged degrees of polymerization), spherical micelles with an oxidized PFS core and a PS corona were formed upon oxidation of more than 50% of the ferrocenyl units by [N(C6H4Br-4)(3)][SbX6] (X = Cl, F). Analogous block copolymers containing a poly(ferrocenylethylmethylsilane) (PFEMS) metalloblock, which has a lower glass transition temperature, behaved similarly. However, in contrast, on replacement of the amorphous metallopolymer blocks by semicrystalline poly(ferrocenyldimethylsilane) (PFDMS) segments, a change in the observed morphology was detected with the formation of ribbon-like micelles upon oxidation of PS535-b-PFDMS103 above the same threshold value. Again the coronas consisted of fully solvated PS and the core consisted of partially to fully oxidized PFS associated with the counteranions. When oxidation was performed with [N(C6H4Br-4)(3)] [SbF6], reduction of the cores of the spherical or ribbon-like micelles with [Co(eta-C5Me5)(2)] enabled full recovery of the neutral chains and no significant chain scission was detected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8903-8913
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2011


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