The use of self-assembled block-copolymer systems as biomimetic structures instead of phospholipids and proteins is a key objective in modern biophysical studies. These systems would have great applications in the development of biosensing technologies and in medical science for purposes such as drug delivery and tissue engineering. A great advantage is the superior resilience and stability of these associates compared to those of phospholipids. In addition block copolymer assemblies are highly manipulable. Amphiphilic block copolymer systems have been shown to form assembled structures of monolayers, bilayers and vesicles. A unique feature of several copolymer systems is the formation of polymersomes which are vesicular structures with wide ranging biological and medical applications. In fact block copolymers form many different interesting assemblies ranging from nanotubes to giant vesicles.
Goal: The objective of this project is to prepare polymerized vesicles with triggerable pores, which are prepared from inexpensive and easily available block copolymer starting materials. The triggered opening and closing of the holes as a function of external physical-chemical factors such as pH, temperature and salt concentration will be investigated, to study the self assembly of amphiphiles; the Molecular realistic self-consistent field calculations will also be performed.