Nucleation and Growth Visualization of Self-Assembled Polymeric Micelles/Vesicles Using in Situ Liquid Cell-TEM

Vahid Jabbari, David J. Banner, Abhijit H. Phakatkar, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar
2020 Microscopy and Microanalysis  
Aqueous self-assembly of amphiphilic phospholipids and formation of cell membranes are vital for all living systems. Amphiphilic block copolymers (polymers with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks or segments) and in a process so-called molecular self-assembly in a selective liquid medium, e.g. water, can assemble into varied intricate and biomimetic structures including spherical micelles, cylindrical or worm-shape micelles, vesicles with sizes ranging from nano-to micro-meter. In fact,
more » ... -meter. In fact, these block copolymers are very similar to amphiphilic cell membrane forming phospholipids which consist of a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic fatty acid tails. However, compared to the small molecule counterparts, self-assembled polymeric nanomaterials offer higher stability (slower exchange kinetics of polymer chains compared to small amphiphilic molecules enabling nonergodic or kinetically frozen systems) and durability (higher molecular length and chain entanglement leads to a thicker as well as more resilient vesicular membranes) which make them a strong candidate for applications in therapeutics and drug delivery, nanomaterial synthesis, nanoscale patterning, and catalysis [1-3].
doi:10.1017/s1431927620022084 fatcat:45rkbqitnbc6dijwf2yq3yyw5y