(739c) Structure Direction Via Sequence Control in Block Copolymers

Wiesner, U., Cornell University
Estroff, L. A., Cornell University
Engineering of polymer-inorganic hybrid materials with structure control from the nanoscale to the mesoscale has remained elusive, especially in comparison to biological composites such as nacre and bone. However, the ability to synthetically design highly crystalline, hierarchically structured, and well-ordered inorganic and composite materials is desired in areas across biomaterials and energy. To this end, block copolymer self-assembly offers a rich diversity of phases with long range periodic order of structures from 0-D to 3-D. While block copolymers have previously been utilized to structure direct a variety of inorganic materials including metals and oxides, such templating typically has relied primarily on spatial confinement. In contrast, proteins and their smaller peptide components provide multiple self-assembly pathways from the folding of the amino acid-based polymer to biomineralization, in which a protein matrix directs crystal phase and orientation of inorganic materials. By combining the long-range periodic structure direction of block copolymers with the increased information content provided by sequence control in proteins, new highly controlled composite materials might be created. Synthesis of block copolymers with sequence controlled domains will be discussed. Through varying charge density and location within the amino acid sequence, we investigate the effect of sequence choice on block copolymer morphology and on the assembly of inorganic components.