Computer simulation of architectural and molecular weight effects on the assembly of amphiphilic linear-dendritic block copolymers in solution

NW Suek and MH Lamm, LANGMUIR, 24, 3030-3036 (2008).

DOI: 10.1021/la703006w

Langevin dynamics simulations are performed on linear - dendritic diblock copolymers containing bead-spring, freely jointed chains composed of hydrophobic linear monomers and hydrophilic dendritic monomers. The critical micelle concentration (CMC), micelle size distribution, and shape are examined as a function of dendron generation and architecture. For diblock copolymers with a linear block of fixed length, it is found that the CMC increases with increasing dendron generation. This trend qualitatively agrees with experiments on linear- dendritic diblock and triblock copolymers with hydrophilic dendritic blocks and hydrophobic linear blocks. The flexibility of the dendritic block is altered by varying the number of spacer monomers between branch points in the dendron. When comparing linear-dendritic diblock copolymers with similar molecular weights, it is shown that increasing the number of spacer monomers in the dendron lowers the CMC due to an increase in flexibility of the dendritic block. Analysis on the micellar structure shows that linear-dendritic diblock copolymers pack more densely than what would be expected for a linear-linear diblock copolymer of the same molecular weight.

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