Chaotropic-anion-induced supramolecular self-assembly of ionic polymeric micelles

Yang Li, Yiguang Wang, Gang Huang, Xinpeng Ma, Kejin Zhou, Jinming Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Traditional micelle self-assembly is driven by the association of hydrophobic segments of amphiphilic molecules forming distinctive core-shell nanostructures in water. Here we report a surprising chaotropic-anion-induced micellization of cationic ammonium-containing block copolymers. The resulting micelle nanoparticle consists of a large number of ion pairs (≈60 000) in each hydrophobic core. Unlike chaotropic anions (e.g. ClO4 -), kosmotropic anions (e.g. SO42-) were not able to induce micelle formation. A positive cooperativity was observed during micellization, for which only a three-fold increase in ClO4 - concentration was necessary for micelle formation, similar to our previously reported ultra-pH-responsive behavior. This unique ion-pair-containing micelle provides a useful model system to study the complex interplay of noncovalent interactions (e.g. electrostatic, van der Waals, and hydrophobic forces) during micelle self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8074-8078
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 28 2014


  • anti-Hofmeister effect
  • block copolymers
  • ion pairs
  • micelles
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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