The effect of dendritic pendants on the folding of amphiphilic copolymers via supramolecular interactions

Gijs M. ter Huurne, Ghislaine Vantomme, Bart W. L. van den Bersselaar, Bala N. S. Thota, Ilja K. Voets, Anja R. A. Palmans, E. W. Meijer

Published: 01/02/2019


The supramolecular folding of amphiphilic heterograft copolymers equipped with dendritic pendants is investigated using a combination of proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, small‐angle X‐ray scattering, and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Hereto, the linear poly(ethylene glycol) pendants normally used to convey water compatibility are partially substituted with branched analogues. For one set of copolymers, second‐generation polyglycerol dendrons are directly attached to the polymer backbone, while for the other a hydrophilic linker is placed in between. The results show that the branching of the hydrophilic pendants affects the local structure of the folded copolymer but does not influence the overall conformation and single‐chain character of the folded copolymers in solution. All copolymers fold into 4–5 nm single‐chain polymeric nanoparticles with a very compact spherical morphology, independent of the dendritic content of the copolymer. Intriguingly, the incorporation of the dendritic pendants affects the formation of a structured interior even at low incorporation ratios. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2019 57 , 411–421

Full Access Link: Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry