Beyond Native Block Copolymer Morphologies


Doerk, G.S.; Yager, K.G. "Beyond Native Block Copolymer Morphologies" Molecular Systems Design & Engineering 2017, 2 518–538.
doi: 10.1039/c7me00069c


We review the methods available for using block copolymers to form 'non-native' morphologies; that is, structures beyond those in the bulk equilibrium phase diagram.


Block copolymers are a well-studied and canonical self-assembling paradigm. Despite active research, new methods are continually emerging that allow the formation of yet more diverse and complex morphologies. In this review, we analyze and comment on the state-of-the-art with respect to exploiting block copolymers in order to form ‘non-native’ morphologies; that is, structures that deviate from the bulk equilibrium morphologies observed in the simplest block copolymer systems. The range of reviewed strategies can be organized with respect to where the final structural information is encoded. Self-assembly involves intrinsic encoding within the molecules themselves, while external fields or templates can be used to externally encode a desired structure. Hybrid strategies, which exploit the responsiveness of self-assembly but control it through external forces or process history, are particularly promising.