Three-dimensional observation of confined phase-separated structures in block copolymer nanoparticles

Takeshi Higuchi, Kiwamu Motoyoshi, Hidekazu Sugimori, Hiroshi Jinnai, Hiroshi Yabu, Masatsugu Shimomura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of confinement on microphase-separated structures of a diblock copolymer is investigated in nanoparticles serving as a three-dimensional (3D) confinement system. We succeeded in preparing nanoparticles having various types of complex structures from hydrophobic diblock copolymers by a simple solvent evaporation method. The detailed 3D structural analysis of the nanoparticles by transmission electron microtomography (TEMT) revealed that complex structures were found only to form in the nanoparticle surface region, the thickness of which corresponded to the single-molecule length of the block copolymer in the bulk state. These results indicate that 3D confinement fundamentally affects block copolymer self-assemblies most strongly in the surface region of nanoparticles but only weakly in the central region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3791-3797
Number of pages7
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 14


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