Solvent selectivity governed self-assembly of block copolymer in nanofabrication


Block copolymer-based nanoproducts including particles, fibers and films show promise in high-end applications including nanotemplating, nanolithography, and nanoporous membranes due to their advantageous self-assembled structure. However, few studies probe the nanofabrication process in detail and monitor the concomitant self-assembled structural transitions. Herein, time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is exploited to follow such nanostructural changes. Evaporation-induced casting, electrospraying or electrospinning, followed by a final solvent vapor annealing step, have been used to create a series of nanoproducts with reversibly tunable morphologies from a model block copolymer, polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-polystyrene (SEBS). During evaporation-induced casting, which is considered as an unconfined system, a selective (co)solvent system composed of tetrahydrofuran (THF) and dimethylformamide (DMF) can lead to the formation of various SEBS structures. For DMF-based unconfined systems, the final SEBS lamellar structures were found to be different from the structure formed from THF only, demonstrating the critical role of solvent selection in evaporation-induced casting. The comparison of SEBS electrospun fibers reveals the unique and complex self-assembled structural transition occurring in a confined system. Time-resolved SAXS studies of our model triblock copolymer provide guidelines for a more general approach to access various nanostructures from self-assembling block copolymers.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Polymer Research Group
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Engineering for Health
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Advanced Materials
Additional Information: Copyright © 2022, Elsevier. This accepted manuscript version is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Uncontrolled Keywords: Block copolymers,Nanofabrication,Self-assembly,Time-resolved SAXS,Materials Chemistry,Polymers and Plastics,Organic Chemistry
Publication ISSN: 1873-2291
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2024 07:25
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2023 14:25
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.sci ... 032386123005359 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-09-22
Published Online Date: 2023-07-19
Accepted Date: 2023-07-17
Authors: Liao, Guoxing
Chen, Lei
Zhang, Yunie
Mykhaylyk, Oleksandr O.
Topham, Paul (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4152-6976)
Toolan, Daniel T.W.
Derry, Matthew (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5010-6725)
Howse, Jonathan R.
Yu, Qianqian
Feng, Guiji
Wang, Linge



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 July 2024.

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

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