Artificial 3D hierarchical and isotropic porous polymeric materials

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Science Advances  11 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaat0713
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0713

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Hierarchical porous materials that replicate complex living structures are attractive for a wide variety of applications, ranging from storage and catalysis to biological and artificial systems. However, the preparation of structures with a high level of complexity and long-range order at the mesoscale and microscale is challenging. We report a simple, nonextractive, and nonreactive method used to prepare three-dimensional porous materials that mimic biological systems such as marine skeletons and honeycombs. This method exploits the concurrent occurrence of the self-assembly of block copolymers in solution and macrophase separation by nucleation and growth. We obtained a long-range order of micrometer-sized compartments. These compartments are interconnected by ordered cylindrical nanochannels. The new approach is demonstrated using polystyrene-b-poly(t-butyl acrylate), which can be further explored for a broad range of applications, such as air purification filters for viruses and pollution particle removal or growth of bioinspired materials for bone regeneration.

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