Hedgehog, Chamomile and Multipetal Polymeric Structures on the Nanoparticle Surface: Theoretical Insights

Polymers (Basel). 2022 Oct 16;14(20):4358. doi: 10.3390/polym14204358.


An analytical theory describing the variety of different morphological structures that spontaneously self-assemble in layers of amphiphilic homopolymers tightly grafted to spherical nanoparticle is proposed. For this purpose, the following structures were identified and outlined: hedgehogs, in which macromolecules are combined into cylindrical aggregates; chamomile, when cylindrical aggregates are connected by their ends into loops; multipetal structure with macromolecules self-assembling into thin lamellae; and unstructured, swollen and uniformly compacted shells. The results are presented in the form of state diagrams and serve as a basis for the directional design of the surface pattern by varying system parameters (particle radius, grafting density and degree of polymerization) and solvent properties (quality and selectivity).

Keywords: amphiphilic homopolymers; nanoparticles; self-assembly.