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Creators/Authors contains: "Murphy, Elizabeth A."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 11, 2023
  2. Resonant soft X-ray scattering (RSoXS) probes structure with chemical sensitivity that is useful for determining the morphology of multiblock copolymers. However, the hyperspectral scattering data produced by this technique can be challenging to interpret. Here, we use computational scattering simulations to extract the microstructure of a model triblock copolymer from the energy-dependent scattering from RSoXS. An ABC triblock terpolymer formed from poly(4-methylcaprolactone) (P4MCL), poly(2,2,2-trifluoroethylacrylate) (PTFEA), and poly (dodecylacrylate) (PDDA), P4MCL- block -PTFEA- block -PDDA, was synthesized as the model triblock system. Through quantitative evaluation of simulated scattering data from a physics-informed set of candidate structure models against experimental RSoXS data, we find the best agreement with hexagonally packed core–shell cylinders. This result is also consistent with electron-density reconstruction from hard X-ray scattering data evaluated against electron-density maps generated with the same model set. These results demonstrate the utility of simulation-guided scattering analysis to study complex microstructures that are challenging to image by microscopy.
  3. Abstract

    Shear‐recoverable hydrogels based on block copolypeptides with rapid self‐recovery hold potential in extrudable and injectable 3D‐printing applications. In this work, a series of 3‐arm star‐shaped block copolypeptides composed of an inner hydrophilic poly(l‐glutamate) domain and an outer β‐sheet forming domain is synthesized with varying side chains and block lengths. By changing the β‐sheet forming domains, hydrogels with diverse microstructures and mechanical properties are prepared and structure–function relationships are determined using scattering and rheological techniques. Differences in the properties of these materials are amplified during direct‐ink writing with a strong correlation observed between printability and material chemistry. Significantly, it is observed that non‐canonical β‐sheet blocks based on phenyl glycine form more stable networks with superior mechanical properties and writability compared to widely used natural amino acid counterparts. The versatile design available through block copolypeptide materials provides a robust platform to access tunable material properties based solely on molecular design. These systems can be exploited in extrusion‐based applications such as 3D‐printing without the need for additives.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 10, 2024