Miktoarm polymers constitute an intriguing and important class of macromolecules, in which the diversity in the key elements of the polymeric architecture i.e., overall shape, well-defined molecular weight, and composition, offers a platform to develop materials for a wide variety of applications. Our ability to fine-tune the branched and multifunctional structure can provide insight into structure–property relationships toward the design of macromolecules with pre-determined properties. It is also of significance in the tailored and unique self-assembly behavior of these macromolecules in different media, which is of particular interest in constructing nanocarriers for biological applications.
Since the inception of the term ‘miktoarm’ in the early 1990s for asymmetric branched macromolecules, there has been a tremendous effort devoted to developing and simplifying the synthetic methodologies, as well as exploring their self-assembly aspects, and exploiting their unique properties for a variety of applications. This book brings together some of the eminent players in the field, and makes an attempt to provide a coherent and collective look at the state-of-the-art in miktoarm polymer research. Chapter 1 gives a historical perspective first, and then walks the reader through the synthetic developments in miktoarm polymers and miktoarm polymer-based complex architectures. Chapter 2 introduces the reader to a new iterative methodology using living anionic polymerization to synthesize multi-component miktoarm star polymers, including the evolution of the methodology into its second generation using the diphenylethylene anion. Chapter 3 explores the synthesis of multicomponent star copolymers using controlled polymerization and ‘click chemistry’ methods. The adoption of ‘click chemistry’ in the synthesis of miktoarm star polymers is then detailed in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, the self-assembly behavior of miktoarm star polymers is compared to that of block-copolymers with particular emphasis on micellar and emulsion-assisted drug delivery. Chapter 6 provides a look at how the construction of miktoarm polymers can be tailored for applications in biology, especially for drug delivery. Finally, in Chapter 7, the reader is introduced to the concept of supramolecular chemistry; it then provides a detailed look at how this concept is applied to miktoarm star polymers in terms of their self-assembly aspects.
Miktoarm polymers continue to be a topical area of research. This class of macromolecules is still relatively young, but some success has been achieved and demonstrated in terms of their synthesis, self-assembly, and applications in biology in particular. This book brings forward the versatility and uniqueness of these branched architectures, and will be of great benefit to young budding chemists, as well as researchers exploring this vibrant class of macromolecules. It is hoped that this book will give the reader a foundation to work upon and, in addition, stimulate them to seek unexpected and not yet explored domains in their synthesis, self-assembly, and applications.