The components of all living organisms are formed through aqueous self-assembly of organic and inorganic materials through physical interactions including hydrophobic, electrostatic, and hydrogen bonding. In this dissertation, these physical interactions were exploited to develop nanostructured materials for a range of applications. Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) self-assemble into varying structures depending on the physical interactions of the peptides and tails. PA aggregation was investigated by cryo-TEM to provide insight on the effects of varying parameters, including the number and length of the lipid tails as well as the number, length, charge, hydrophobicity, and the hydrogen bonding ability of the peptides. It was determined that cylindrical micelles are most commonly formed, and that specific criteria must be met in order to form spherical micelles, nanoribbons, vesicles or less ordered aggregates. Controlling the aggregated structure is necessary for many applications—particularly in therapeutics. Additionally, two-headed PAs were designed to act as a catalyst and template for biomimetic mineralization to control the formation of inorganic nanomaterials. Finally, injectable hydrogels made from ABA triblock copolymers were synthesized with the A blocks being functionalized with either guanidinium or sulfonate groups. These oppositely charged polyelectrolyte endblocks formed complex coacervate domains, which served as physical crosslinks in the hydrogel network. The mechanical properties, the network structure, the nature of the coacervate domain and the kinetics of hydrogel formation were investigated as a function of polymer concentration, salt concentration, pH and stoichiometry with rheometry, SAXS and SANS. It was shown that the mechanical properties of the hydrogels was highly dependent on the structural organization of the coacervate domains and that the properties could be tuned with polymer and salt concentration. Polymer and salt concentration were also shown to play roles in determining the size and density of the coacervate domains. Additionally, 20 wt% hydrogels were shown to form through a nucleation and growth pathway, in which the coacervate domains formed within minutes, the BCC structure was predominant within 100 minutes, but the equilibrium structure was not achieved for months. Ultimately, the work presented in this dissertation has resulted in an improved understanding of the physical interactions that are needed for self-assembly and may eventually lead to smarter design of nanomaterials for therapeutic, electronic and mechanical applications.
|Advisor:||Tirrell, Matthew V.|
|Commitee:||Hawker, Craig J., Kramer, Edward J., Morse, Daniel E., Safinya, Cyrus R.|
|School:||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biochemistry, Materials science|
|Keywords:||Aqueous materials, Lipid tails, Peptide amphiphiles, Self-assembled materials, Structure-property relationships|
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