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Choi I.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Kulkarni D.D.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Xu W.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Tsitsilianis C.,University of Patras | And 2 more authors.

We report the interfacial assembly of amphiphilic heteroarm star copolymers (PSnP2VPn and PSn(P2VP-b-PtBA)n (n = 28 arms)) on graphene oxide flakes at the air-water interface. Adsorption, spreading, and ordering of star polymer micelles on the surface of the basal plane and edge of monolayer graphene oxide sheets were investigated on a Langmuir trough. This interface-mediated assembly resulted in micelle-decorated graphene oxide sheets with uniform spacing and organized morphology. We found that the surface activity of solvated graphene oxide sheets enables star polymer surfactants to subsequently adsorb on the presuspended graphene oxide sheets, thereby producing a bilayer complex. The positively charged heterocyclic pyridine-containing star polymers exhibited strong affinity onto the basal plane and edge of graphene oxide, leading to a well-organized and long-range ordered discrete micelle assembly. The preferred binding can be related to the increased conformational entropy due to the reduction of interarm repulsion. The extent of coverage was tuned by controlling assembly parameters such as concentration and solvent polarity. The polymer micelles on the basal plane remained incompressible under lateral compression in contrast to ones on the water surface due to strongly repulsive confined arms on the polar surface of graphene oxide and a preventive barrier in the form of the sheet edges. The densely packed biphasic tile-like morphology was evident, suggesting the high interfacial stability and mechanically stiff nature of graphene oxide sheets decorated with star polymer micelles. This noncovalent assembly represents a facile route for the control and fabrication of graphene oxide-inclusive ultrathin hybrid films applicable for layered nanocomposites. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source

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