Efficient Synthesis of Sterically-Stabilized Nano-Objects via RAFT Dispersion Polymerization of Benzyl Methacrylate in Alcoholic Media



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Synthesis of diblock copolymer nano-objects: alcohol is a good idea! RAFT dispersion polymerization of benzyl methacrylate in alcohol using weak polyelectrolyte-based chain transfer agents allows the facile synthesis of sterically stabilized diblock copolymer nano-objects with very high monomer conversions. Such syntheses are usually problematic when conducted in water due to electrostatic repulsion between highly charged stabilizer chains, which impedes in situ self-assembly. Construction of a detailed phase diagram facilitates reproducible syntheses of well-defined diblock copolymer spheres, worms or vesicles, since it allows mixed phase regions to be avoided. Aqueous electrophoresis studies confirm that these nano-objects can acquire substantial surface charge when transferred to aqueous solution due to ionization (or protonation) of the polyacid (or polybase) stabilizer chains.