Effects of Tailored Dispersity on the Self-Assembly of Dimethylsiloxane–Methyl Methacrylate Block Co-Oligomers

Oschmann, B., Lawrence, J., Schulze, M. W., Ren, J. M., Anastasaki, A., Luo, Y., Nothling, M. D., Pester, C. W., Delaney, K. T., Connal, L. A., McGrath, A. J., Clark, P. G., Bates, C. M., Hawker, C. J.
ACS Macro Lett.
2017
6, pp 668–673

The effect of dispersity on block polymer self-assembly was studied in the monodisperse limit using a combination of synthetic chemistry, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization spectroscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering. Oligo(methyl methacrylate) (oligoMMA) and oligo(dimethylsiloxane) (oligoDMS) homopolymers were synthesized by conventional polymerization techniques and purified to generate an array of discrete, semidiscrete, and disperse building blocks. Coupling reactions afforded oligo(DMS–MMA) block polymers with precisely tailored molar mass distributions spanning single molecular systems (Đ = 1.0) to low-dispersity mixtures (Đ ≈ 1.05). Discrete materials exhibit a pronounced decrease in domain spacing and sharper scattering reflections relative to disperse analogues. The order–disorder transition temperature (TODT) also decreases with increasing dispersity, suggesting stabilization of the disordered phase, presumably due to the strengthening of composition fluctuations at the low molar masses investigated.