Synthesis of Poly(3-vinylpyridine)-Block-Polystyrene Diblock Copolymers via Surfactant-Free RAFT Emulsion Polymerization


In this work, we present a novel synthetic route to diblock copolymers based on styrene and 3-vinylpyridine monomers. Surfactant-free water-based reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) emulsion polymerization of styrene in the presence of the macroRAFT agent poly(3-vinylpyridine) (P3VP) is used to synthesize diblock copolymers with molecular weights of around 60 kDa. The proposed mechanism for the poly(3-vinylpyridine)-block-poly(styrene) (P3VP-b-PS) synthesis is the polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) which involves the in situ formation of well-defined micellar nanoscale objects consisting of a PS core and a stabilizing P3VP macroRAFT agent corona. The presented approach shows a well-controlled RAFT polymerization, allowing for the synthesis of diblock copolymers with high monomer conversion. The obtained diblock copolymers display microphase-separated structures according to their composition.
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