Perfect mixing of immiscible macromolecules at fluid interfaces
The difficulty of mixing chemically incompatible substances–in particular macromolecules and colloidal particles–is a canonical problem limiting advances in fields ranging from health care to materials engineering. Although the self-assembly of chemically different moieties has been demonstrated in coordination complexes, supramolecular structures, and colloidal lattices among other systems, the mechanisms of mixing largely rely on specific interfacing of chemically, physically or geometrically complementary objects. Here, by taking advantage of the steric repulsion between brush-like polymers tethered to surface-active species, we obtained long-range arrays of perfectly mixed macromolecules with a variety of polymer architectures and a wide range of chemistries without the need of encoding specific complementarity. The net repulsion arises from the significant increase in the conformational entropy of the brush-like polymers with increasing distance between adjacent macromolecules at fluid interfaces. This entropic-templating assembly strategy enables long-range patterning of thin films on sub-100 nm length scales.
Sheiko, SS; Zhou, J; Arnold, J; Neugebauer, D; Matyjaszewski, K; Tsitsilianis, C; Tsukruk, VV; Carrillo, JMY; Dobrynin, AV; Rubinstein, M
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