Monodisperse cylindrical micelles by crystallization-driven living self-assembly

Nat Chem. 2010 Jul;2(7):566-70. doi: 10.1038/nchem.664. Epub 2010 May 30.


Non-spherical nanostructures derived from soft matter and with uniform size-that is, monodisperse materials-are of particular utility and interest, but are very rare outside the biological domain. We report the controlled formation of highly monodisperse cylindrical block copolymer micelles (length dispersity < or = 1.03; length range, approximately 200 nm to 2 microm) by the use of very small (approximately 20 nm) uniform crystallite seeds that serve as initiators for the crystallization-driven living self-assembly of added block-copolymer unimers with a crystallizable, core-forming metalloblock. This process is analogous to the use of small initiator molecules in classical living polymerization reactions. The length of the nanocylinders could be precisely controlled by variation of the unimer-to-crystallite seed ratio. Samples of the highly monodisperse nanocylinders of different lengths that are accessible using this approach have been shown to exhibit distinct liquid-crystalline alignment behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization
  • Micelles*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanostructures / chemistry
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Micelles
  • Polymers