Short chains for a smart film

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Science  05 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6337, pp. 498-499
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6337.498-d

Polymer films capable of changing their structural properties at the nanoscale in response to physiological temperature changes could have a number of biological applications. To achieve periodic structures with feature sizes below 10 nm, an amphiphilic polymer must join highly immiscible polymer blocks with short chains. Nowak et al. synthesized an amphiphile that joined a disaccharide and a polypropylene oligomer with a triazole linkage. Spin-cast ultrathin films of this material formed “fingerprint” lamellar domains of the blocks that were perpendicular to the surface with a spacing of ∼6 nm at room temperature. However, heating to 38°C for 72 hours led to a nanostructure in which the chains were stacked parallel to the surface in head-tail bilayers.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.6b13285 (2017).

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