Poly(D-glucose carbonate) block copolymers: a platform for natural product-based nanomaterials with Solvothermatic characteristics.
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A natural product-based polymer platform, having the characteristics of being derived from renewable materials and capable of breaking down, ultimately, into natural byproducts, has been prepared through the ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of a glucose-based bicyclic carbonate monomer. ROP was carried out via chain extension of a polyphosphoester (PPE) macroinitiator in the presence of 1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-ene (TBD) organocatalyst to afford the PPE-b-poly(D-glucose carbonate) (PDGC) block copolymer. This new copolymer represents a functional architecture that can be rapidly transformed through thiol-yne reactions along the PPE segment into a diverse variety of amphiphilic polymers, which interestingly display stimuli-sensitive phase behavior in the form of a lower critical solution temperature (LCST). Below the LCST, they undergo self-assembly to form spherical core-shell nanostructures that display a poorly defined core-shell morphology. It is expected that hydrophobic patches are exposed within the micellar corona, reminiscent of the surface complexity of proteins, making these materials of interest for triggered and reversible assembly disassembly processes.