Background: Until recently, hyperbranched polymers were thought to be ill-defined materials that were not useful as building blocks for well-defined complex polymer architectures. It is a current challenge to develop strategies that offer rapid access to well-defined hyperbranched block copolymers. Results: A convenient three-step protocol for the synthesis of double-hydrophilic hyperbranched-linear-hyperbranched ABA-type triblock copolymers based on poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and hyperbranched polyglycerol (hbPG) is presented. The Bola-type polymers exhibiting an aliphatic polyether structure were prepared from a linear (lin) linPG-b-PEO-b-linPG precursor triblock. The materials exhibit low polydispersities (Mw/Mn) in the range 1.19-1.45. The molecular weights of the block copolymers range from 6300 to 26 200 g mol-1, varying in the length of both the linear PEO chain as well as the hbPG segments. Detailed characterization of the thermal properties using differential scanning calorimetry demonstrates nanophase segregation of the blocks. Conclusion: The first example of well-defined ABA hyperbranched-linear- hyperbranched triblock copolymers with PEO, middle block and hbPG A-blocks is presented. The biocompatible nature of the aliphatic polyether blocks renders these materials interesting for biomedical purposes. These new materials are also intriguing with respect to their supramolecular order and biomineralization properties.
- Anionic polymerization
- Hyperbranched block copolymers
- Poly(ethylene oxide)
- Slow monomer addition