Mechanism for rapid self-assembly of block copolymer nanoparticles

Brian K. Johnson, Robert K. Prud’homme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

362 Scopus citations


Amphiphilic block copolymers in solution spontaneously self-assemble when the solvent quality for one block is selectively decreased. We demonstrate that, for supersaturation ratio changes [[Formula presented]] over [Formula presented] per second from equilibrium, nanoparticles are obtained with a formation mechanism and size dependent on the jumping rate and magnitude. The threshold rate for homogeneous precipitation is determined by the induction time of a particle, equivalent to the diffusion limited fusion of copolymer chains to form a corona of overlapping soluble brushes. Via determination of the induction time with a novel confined impinging jets mixer and use of a scaling relation, the interfacial free energy of a block copolymer nanoparticle was measured for the first time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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