Synthesis of monodisperse cylindrical nanoparticles via crystallization-driven self-assembly of biodegradable block copolymers

Zachary Coe, Andrew Weems, Andrew Dove, Rachel O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The production of monodisperse cylindrical micelles is a significant challenge in polymer chemistry. Most cylindrical constructs formed from diblock copolymers are produced by one of three techniques: thin film rehydration, solvent switching or polymerization-induced self-assembly, and produce only flexible, polydisperse cylinders. Crystallization-driven self-assembly (CDSA) is a method which can produce cylinders with these properties, by stabilizing structures of a lower curvature due to the formation of a crystalline core. However, the living polymerization techniques by which most core-forming blocks are formed are not trivial processes and the CDSA process may yield unsatisfactory results if carried out incorrectly. Here, the synthesis of cylindrical nanoparticles from simple reagents is shown. The drying and purification of reagents prior to a ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone catalyzed by diphenyl phosphate is described. This polymer is then chain extended by methyl methacrylate (MMA) followed by N,N-dimethyl acrylamide (DMA) using reversible addition−fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization, affording a triblock copolymer that can undergo CDSA in ethanol. The living CDSA process is outlined, the results of which yield cylindrical nanoparticles up to 500 nm in length and a length dispersity as low as 1.05. It is anticipated that these protocols will allow others to produce cylindrical nanostructures and elevate the field of CDSA in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59772
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number148
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2019


  • Chemistry
  • Crystallization-driven self-assembly
  • Degradable polymers
  • Issue 148
  • Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization
  • Ring-opening polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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