Ordered nanoporous polymers from polystyrene-polylactide block copolymers

J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Oct 30;124(43):12761-73. doi: 10.1021/ja0278584.


Nanoporous polystyrene monoliths were prepared from polystyrene-polylactide (PS-PLA) block copolymers that form hexagonally packed nanocylinders of PLA in a PS matrix. A morphology diagram was developed to determine the range in composition and molecular weight over which this morphology existed. Macroscopic alignment of these materials gave anisotropic monoliths that were subjected to mild degradation conditions leading to the chemical etching of the PLA. The resulting nanoporous monoliths consisted of a polystyrene matrix containing hexagonally close-packed, oriented, and continuous nanoscopic channels (pore size was tunable through synthesis or blending) lined with chemically accessible hydroxyl functional groups. Both the precursors and the porous materials were analyzed moleculary (size-exclusion chromatography and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) and structurally (small-angle X-ray scattering, scanning electron microscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry). In addition, the surface area and pore size distribution of the nanoporous monoliths were characterized (N2 adsorption measurements). These nanoporous materials have remarkable potential as hosts for nanomaterial synthesis, size-selective catalyst supports, and advanced separations.