Self-assembled polymer nanostructures: Design, syntheses and applications
Recent progress in nanotechnology research has witnessed its impact in wide variety of emerging fields starting from electronics to medicine. Our interest in nanotechnology is to ‘create new nanomaterials’, or ‘new methods to make nanomaterials’, to understand and to utilize them for various applications. We discuss our findings on the formation and application of nanostructures made through self-assembly in solution, followed by self-assembly at the interior of nanopores.
Self-assembly can be induced in molecules by manipulating the noncovalent interaction, solvophilic and solvophobic forces. We are interested in creating various selfassembled nanostructures that could be tuned by modifying the amphiphilic building blocks during their synthesis. When these building blocks are grown in a perfectly branched fashion the obtained macromolecules are called amphiphilic dendrimers, whereas the linearly grown building blocks are called amphiphlic homopolymers. Here we show that the biaryl dendrimer can be made into temperature sensitive micelles, and can be used in molecular encapsulation. We further extend our developed concept to acrylamide-based homopolymers that can, not only form micelles and inverted micelles, but also can be tuned to make vesicles. By making the amphiphilic homopolymer in a noncovalent fashion, we show that the formed nanoassembly can be disassembled using proteins and the differential nature of disassembly was used for protein sensing. The self-assembled structures in apolar solvent, known as inverted micelles, were utilized for pI-dependent isolation of peptides.
We show that polymers can be self-assembled inside membrane nanopores to make functionalized nanotubes, which can be utilized for separating molecules based on charge, size and hydrophobicity. We also show that by using dendrimers the pore size of the nanotubes can be precisely controlled and can be exploited for molecular separations.
0495: Polymer chemistry