Polymer vesicles are stable robust vesicles made from block copolymer amphiphiles. Recent progress in the chemical design of block copolymers opens up the exciting possibility of creating a wide variety of polymer vesicles with varying fine structure, functionality and geometry. Polymer vesicles not only constitute useful systems for drug delivery and micro/nano-reactors but also provide an invaluable arena for exploring the ordering of matter on curved surfaces embedded in three dimensions. By choosing suitable liquid-crystalline polymers for one of the copolymer components, one can create vesicles with smectic stripes. Smectic order on shapes of spherical topology inevitably possesses topological defects (disclinations) that are themselves distinguished regions for potential chemical functionalization and nucleators of vesicle budding. Here we report on glassy striped polymer vesicles formed from amphiphilic block copolymers in which the hydrophobic block is a smectic liquid crystal polymer containing cholesteryl-based mesogens. The vesicles exhibit two-dimensional smectic order and are ellipsoidal in shape with defects, or possible additional budding into isotropic vesicles, at the poles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics