Selective solvent conditions influence sequence development and supramolecular assembly in step-growth copolymerization

01 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Sequence control in synthetic copolymers remains a tantalizing objective in polymer science due to the influence of sequence on material properties and self-organization. A greater understanding of sequence development throughout the polymerization process will aid the design of simple, generalizable methods to control sequence and tune supramolecular assembly. In previous simulations of solution-based step-growth copolymerizations, we have shown that weak, non-bonding attractions between monomers of the same type can produce a microphase separation among the lengthening nascent oligomers and thereby alter sequence. This work explores the phenomenon further, examining how effective attractive interactions, mediated by a solvent selective for one of the reacting species, impact the development of sequence and the supramolecular assembly in a simple A-B copolymerization. We find that as the effective attractions between monomers increase, an emergent self-organization of the reactants causes a shift in reaction kinetics and sequence development. When the solvent-mediated interactions are selective enough, the simple mixture of A and B monomers oligomerize and self-assemble into structures characteristic of amphiphilic copolymers. The composition and morphology of these structures and the sequences of their chains are sensitive to the relative balance of affinities between the comonomer species. Our results demonstrate the impact of differing A-B monomer-solvent affinities on sequence development in solution-based copolymerizations and are of consequence to the informed design of synthetic methods for sequence controlled amphiphilic copolymers and their aggregates.


Sequence control
Copolymer sequence

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information for "Selective solvent conditions influence sequence development and supramolecular assembly in step-growth copolymerization"
Additional simulation details regarding attractive interactions, activation energies, and calculations used in data analysis.


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