In this paper, we describe the use of liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (LCTEM) for inducing and imaging the formation of spherical micelles from amphiphilic block copolymers. Within the irradiated region of the liquid cell, diblock copolymers were produced which self-assembled, yielding a targeted spherical micellar phase via polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA). Critically, we demonstrate that nanoparticle formation can be visualized in situ and that in the presence of excess monomer, nanoparticle growth occurs to yield sizes and morphologies consistent with standard PISA conditions. Experiments were enabled by employing automated LCTEM sample preparation and by analyzing LCTEM data with multi-object tracking algorithms designed for the detection of low-contrast materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)