Micellar assembly and disassembly of organoselenium block copolymers through alkylation and dealkylation processes

Taejun Eom, Anzar Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of this work is to demonstrate that the alkylation and dealkylation of selenium atoms is an effective tool in controlling polymer amphiphilicity and, hence, its assembly and disassembly process in water. To establish this concept, poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(glycidyl methacrylate) was prepared. A post-synthesis modification with phenyl selenolate through a basecatalyzed selenium-epoxy ‘click’ reaction then gave rise to the side-chain selenium-containing block copolymer with an amphiphilic character. This polymer assembled into micellar structures in water. However, silver tetrafluoroborate-promoted alkylation of the selenium atoms resulted in the formation of hydrophilic selenonium tetrafluoroborate salts. This enhancement in the chemical polarity of the second polymer block removed the amphiphilic character from the polymer chain and led to the disassembly of the micellar structures. This process could be reversed by restoring the original amphiphilic polymer character through the dealkylation of the cations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2456
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (NRF-18R1D1A1B07048527).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Alkylation/dealkylation
  • Micellar disassembly
  • Micellar nanostructures
  • Organoselenium polymers
  • Polymer assembly
  • Selenium-epoxy ‘click’ reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


Dive into the research topics of 'Micellar assembly and disassembly of organoselenium block copolymers through alkylation and dealkylation processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this