Hierarchical smectic self-assembly of an ABC miktoarm star terpolymer with a helical polypeptide arm

Susanna Junnila, Nikolay Houbenov, Sirkku Hanski, Hermis Iatrou, Akira Hirao, Nikos Hadjichristidis*, Olli Ikkala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We demonstrate the first hierarchical smectic self-assembly in miktoarm star terpolymers, using a polymer/polypeptide hybrid (macromolecular chimera) composed of two coil-like arms (polystyrene, PS, and polyisoprene, PI) and a mesogenic α-helical polypeptide arm (poly(ε-tert-butyloxycarbonyl-l- lysine), PBLL). The PBLL α-helices are packed within lamellar nanodomains which leads to an overall smectic alteration of rod- and coil-containing layers typically observed in rod-coil block copolymers. Furthermore, the coil-containing lamellae have an inner structure composed of PS and PI rectangular cylinders, leading to what we call a hierarchical smectic phase. To elucidate the role of polypeptide helices in directing the self-assembly, the ordering is studied both after thermal annealing and after quick drop-casting from chloroform solution. The possibility to combine mesogen packing, tiling patterns, and conformational control of polypeptide blocks makes self-assembled hierarchies of star-shaped macromolecular chimeras appealing for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9071-9076
Number of pages6
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 9 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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