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Unravelling a Novel Sol-Gel Transition Mechanism in Polymer Self-Assemblies: An Order-Order Transition Based on Specific Molecular Interactions Between Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Polymer Blocks

submitted on 02.04.2021, 06:32 and posted on 02.04.2021, 18:37 by Lukas Hahn, Theresa Zorn, Josef Kehrrein, Tobias Kielholz, Benedikt Sochor, Ekaterina S. Lisitsyna, Nikita Durandin, Timo Laaksonen, Vladimir Aseyev, Christoph Sotriffer, Maike Windbergs, Ann-Christin Pöppler, Robert Luxenhofer
Using a wide range of state-of-the art analytical techniques and molecular dynamics simulation, a novel mechanism for macromolecular interactions are described. Distinct interactions between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks in amphiphilic triblock copolymers lead to an order-order transition from spherical micelles to worm-like micelles upon cooling the aqueous polymer solutions below room temperature. Macroscopically, this this leads to reversible gelation. This novel mechanism represent a novel building block to better understand polymer self-assembly.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Academy of Finland


Email Address of Submitting Author


University of Helsinki



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

RL and HL are listed as inventors on a patent application pertinent to some materials in the present work. The other authors declare no competing financial interest.

Version Notes

first version submitted for peer review