Molecular engineering of polymersome surface topology

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Science Advances  15 Apr 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 4, e1500948
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500948


Biological systems exploit self-assembly to create complex structures whose arrangements are finely controlled from the molecular to mesoscopic level. We report an example of using fully synthetic systems that mimic two levels of self-assembly. We show the formation of vesicles using amphiphilic copolymers whose chemical nature is chosen to control both membrane formation and membrane-confined interactions. We report polymersomes with patterns that emerge by engineering interfacial tension within the polymersome surface. This allows the formation of domains whose topology is tailored by chemical synthesis, paving the avenue to complex supramolecular designs functionally similar to those found in viruses and trafficking vesicles.

  • Controlled self-assembly
  • block copolymers
  • vesicles
  • surface topology
  • biomimetic structures

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