Main content area

Molecular Dynamics in the Lyophases of Copolymer P123 Investigated with FFC NMR Relaxometry

Phani Kumar, Bandaru V. N., Stapf, Siegfried, Mattea, Carlos
Langmuir 2018 v.35 no.2 pp. 435-445
activation energy, aqueous solutions, composite polymers, deuterium oxide, ethylene, isotropy, liquid crystals, magnetism, models, molecular dynamics, molecular weight, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, solubilization
Associative block copolymers of the type (EO)ₓ(PO)y(EO)ₓ (where EO and PO represent ethylene and propylene oxides, respectively) in aqueous solution have far reaching commercial applications such as solubilization, controlled-drug delivery, etc. The molecular dynamics of a self-associating triblock copolymer (EO)₂₀(PO)₇₀(EO)₂₀ (known as P123 with a molecular weight of ∼5800), in aqueous solution (D₂O), consisting of various lyotropic liquid crystalline phases such as isotropic micellar, cubic, hexagonal, and lamellar phases, is investigated using the fast field cycling nuclear magnetic resonance (FFC NMR) relaxometry technique in the Larmor frequency range from 5 kHz to 30 MHz. A nuclear spin-relaxation model consisting of chain modes (Rouse modes) and order fluctuation (OF) modes typical for polymers and liquid crystals, respectively, is considered to explain the observed proton magnetic relaxation dispersion (PMRD) data in the lyophases under investigation. The PMRD analysis in both isotropic micellar and cubic phases revealed a Rouse frequency dependence of spin–lattice relaxation rate (R₁), i.e., R₁ ∝ −τₛ ln(ωτₛ), in the entire frequency range of study. Hexagonal and lamellar phase data show Rouse modes as well as OF modes, leaving the signature of the latter as R₁ ∝ ω–ᵖ, where p ∼ 0.5 is typical for nematic mesogens. The activation energies were also determined from segmental correlation times in the lyophases of study. To the best of our knowledge, the present FFC NMR relaxometry study is unique and quantitative in unraveling molecular dynamics of the associative copolymer P123 in aqueous solution.