Thermo- and light-regulated formation and disintegration of double hydrophilic block copolymer assemblies with tunable fluorescence emissions

Yonghao Wu, Huamin Hu, Jinming Hu, Tao Liu, Guoying Zhang, Shiyong Liu

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35 Citations (Scopus)


We report on thermo- and light-regulated formation and disintegration of double hydrophilic block copolymer (DHBC) micelles associated with tunable fluorescence emissions by employing two types of DHBCs covalently labeled with fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) donor and acceptor moieties, respectively, within the light and temperature dually responsive block. Both DHBCs are molecularly soluble at room temperature in their aqueous mixture, whereas, upon heating to above the critical micellization temperature (CMT, 31 ?C), they coassemble into mixed micelles possessing hydrophilic coronas and mixed cores containing FRET donors and acceptors. Accordingly, the closer spatial proximity between the FRET pair (NBDAE and RhBEA moieties) within micellar cores leads to substantially enhanced FRET efficiency, compared to that in the non-aggregated unimer state. Moreover, upon UV irradiation, the light-reactive moieties undergo light-cleavage reaction and transform into negatively charged carboxylate residues, leading to elevated CMT ( 46 ?C). Thus, thermo-induced mixed micelles in the intermediate temperature range (31 ?C <T <46 ?C) undergo light-triggered disintegration into unimers, accompanied with the decrease of FRET efficiency. Overall, the coassembly and disassembly occurring in the mixed DHBC solution can be dually regulated by temperature and UV irradiation, and most importantly, these processes can be facilely monitored via changes in FRET efficiency and distinct emission colors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3711 - 3720
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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