Journal of Physical Chemistry B

Role of hydrophilicity and length of diblock arms for determining star polymer physical properties

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We present a molecular simulation study of star polymers consisting of 16 diblock copolymer arms bound to a small adamantane core by varying both arm length and the outer hydrophilic block when attached to the same hydrophobic block of poly-δ-valerolactone. Here we consider two biocompatible star polymers in which the hydrophilic block is composed of polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polymethyloxazoline (POXA) in addition to a polycarbonate-based polymer with a pendant hydrophilic group (PC1). We find that the different hydrophilic blocks of the star polymers show qualitatively different trends in their interactions with aqueous solvent, orientational time correlation functions, and orientational correlation between pairs of monomers of their polymeric arms in solution, in which we find that the PEG polymers are more thermosensitive compared with the POXA and PC1 star polymers over the physiological temperature range we have investigated.