Thermally triggered assembly of cationic graft copolymers containing 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl methacrylate side chains

Nur Nabilah Shahidan, Ruixue Liu, Francesco Cellesi, Cameron Alexander, Kevin M. Shakesheff, Brian R. Saunders

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Thermoresponsive copolymers continue to attract a great deal of interest in the literature. In particular, those based on ethylene oxide-containing methacrylates have excellent potential for biomaterial applications. Recently, some of us reported a study of thermoresponsive cationic graft copolymers containing poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), PNIPAm, (Liu et al., Langmuir, 24, 7099). Here, we report an improved version of this new family of copolymers. In the present study, we replaced the PNIPAm side chains with poly(2-(2- methyoxyethoxy)ethylmethacrylate), PMeO 2MA. These new, nonacrylamide containing, cationic graft copolymers were prepared using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and a macroinitiator. They contained poly(trimethylamonium)-aminoethyl methacrylate and PMeO 2MA, i.e., PTMA + x-g-(PMeO 2MA n) y. They were investigated using variable-temperature turbidity, photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), electrophoretic mobility, and 1H NMR measurements. For one system, four critical temperatures were measured and used to propose a mechanism for the thermally triggered changes that occur in solution. All of the copolymers existed as unimolecular micelles at 20 °C. They underwent reversible aggregation with heating. The extent of aggregation was controlled by the length of the side chains. TEM showed evidence of micellar aggregates. The thermally responsive behaviors of our new copolymers are compared to those for the cationic PNIPAm graft copolymers reported by Liu et al. Our new cationic copolymers retained their positive charge at all temperatures studied, have high zeta potentials at 37 °C, and are good candidates for conferring thermoresponsiveness to negatively charged biomaterial surfaces. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13868-13878
    Number of pages10
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2011


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