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Anisotropic polymer nanoparticles with controlled dimensions from the morphological transformation of isotropic seeds

Hua, Zan; Jones, Joseph R.; Thomas, Marjolaine; Arno, Maria C.; Souslov, Anton; Wilks, Thomas R.; O’Reilly, Rachel K.

Nature Communications, 2019, vol 10, 1, pp. 5406



Understanding and controlling self-assembly processes at multiple length scales is vital if we are to design and create advanced materials. In particular, our ability to organise matter on the nanoscale has advanced considerably, but still lags far behind our skill in manipulating individual molecules. New tools allowing controlled nanoscale assembly are sorely needed, as well as the physical understanding of how they work. Here, we report such a method for the production of highly anisotropic nanoparticles with controlled dimensions based on a morphological transformation process (MORPH, for short) driven by the formation of supramolecular bonds. We present a minimal physical model for MORPH that suggests a general mechanism which is potentially applicable to a large number of polymer/nanoparticle systems. We envision MORPH becoming a valuable tool for controlling nanoscale self-assembly, and for the production of functional nanostructures for diverse applications.

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