Evolution of multicompartment micelles to mixed corona micelles using solvent mixtures

Langmuir. 2008 Oct 21;24(20):12001-9. doi: 10.1021/la802336k. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


Miktoarm star triblock copolymers mu-[poly(ethylethylene)][poly(ethylene oxide)][poly(perfluoropropylene oxide)] self-assemble in dilute aqueous solution to give multicompartment micelles with the cores consisting of discrete poly(ethylethylene) and poly(perfluoropropylene oxide) domains. Tetrahydrofuran is a selective solvent for both the poly(ethylethylene) and poly(ethylene oxide) blocks, and thus in tetrahydrofuran mixed corona micelles are favored with poly(perfluoropropylene oxide) cores. The introduction of tetrahydrofuran into water induces an evolution from multicompartment micelles to mixed corona [poly(ethylethylene) + poly(ethylene oxide)] micelles, as verified by dynamic light scattering and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A mixed solvent containing 60 wt % tetrahydrofuran corresponds to the transition point, as verified by analysis of a poly(ethylethylene)-poly(ethylene oxide) diblock copolymer in the same solvent mixtures. Furthermore, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy suggests that, as the poly(ethylethylene) block transitions from the core to the corona, the micelle morphologies evolve from disks to oblate ellipsoid micelles (with some vesicles), with worms and spheres evident at intermediate compositions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Furans / chemistry
  • Light
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Micelles*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Propylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Solutions / chemistry
  • Solvents / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties
  • Water / chemistry


  • Colloids
  • Furans
  • Micelles
  • Polymers
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Solutions
  • Solvents
  • poly(perfluoropropylene)oxide
  • Water
  • tetrahydrofuran
  • Polyethylene Glycols