Small molecule-guided thermoresponsive supramolecular assemblies

Benjamin J. Rancatore, Clayton E. Mauldin, Jean Frechet, Ting Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Small organic molecules with strong intermolecular interactions have a wide range of desirable optical and electronic properties and rich phase behaviors. Incorporating them into block copolymer (BCP)-based supramolecules opens new routes to generate functional responsive materials. Using oligothiophene- containing supramolecules, we present systematic studies of critical thermodynamic parameters and kinetic pathway that govern the coassemblies of BCP and strongly interacting small molecules. A number of potentially useful morphologies for optoelectronic materials, including a nanoscopic network of oligothiophene and nanoscopic crystalline lamellae, were obtained by varying the assembly pathway. Hierarchical coassemblies of oligothiophene and BCP, rather than macrophase separation, can be obtained. Crystallization of the oligothiophene not only induces chain stretching of the BCP block the oligothiophene is hydrogen bonded to but also changes the conformation of the other BCP coil block. This leads to an over 70% change in the BCP periodicity (e.g., from 31 to 53 nm) as the oligothiophene changes from a melt to a crystalline state, which provides access to a large BCP periodicity using fairly low molecular weight BCP. The present studies have demonstrated the experimental feasibility of generating thermoresponsive materials that convert heat into mechanical energy. Incorporating strongly interacting small molecules into BCP supramolecules effectively increases the BCP periodicity and may also open new opportunities to tailor their optical properties without the need for high molecular weight BCP. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8292-8299
Number of pages8
JournalMacromolecules
Volume45
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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