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  1. Abstract

    This manuscript describes the synthesis and characterization of guanine and cytosine‐containing supramolecular copolymers, which are inspired from the guanine and cytosine nucleobase pair in deoxyribonucleic acid. Regioselective Michael‐addition allowed the efficient installation of the nucleobases on acrylate‐containing monomers, which enabled the preparation of a series of nucleobase‐functionalized acrylate andn‐butyl acrylate copolymers using conventional free radical copolymerization. Guanine‐containing copolymers exhibited superior thermal properties, thermomechanical performance, and more defined morphological structure than cytosine‐containing copolymer analogs due to the relatively strong guanine self‐association, thus expanding the potential applications for mechanically reinforced polymeric networks. Blending guanine‐ and cytosine‐containing copolymers formed a supramolecular structure through multiple hydrogen bonding between guanine and cytosine units. The supramolecular blend exhibited intermediate thermomechanical and morphological properties, which suggested that guanine and cytosine units were not fully associated in the random copolymer composition. This work provides valuable fundamental understanding of structure–property‐morphology relationships in acrylic copolymers with the presence of guanine‐cytosine self‐ and complementary interactions, suggesting new understanding in supramolecular design for enhanced mechanical and morphological properties.

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
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  5. Quantitative analysis of particle size and size distribution is crucial in establishing structure–property relationships of composite materials. An emerging soft composite architecture involves dispersing droplets of liquid metal throughout an elastomer, enabling synergistic properties of metals and soft polymers. The structure of these materials is typically characterized through real-space microscopy and image analysis; however, these techniques rely on magnified images that may not represent the global-averaged size and distribution of the droplets. In this study, we utilize ultra-small angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) as a reciprocal-space characterization technique that yields global-averaged dimensions of eutectic gallium indium (EGaIn) alloy soft composites. The Unified fit and Monte Carlo scattering methods are applied to determine the particle size and size distributions of the liquid metal droplets in the composites and are shown to be in excellent agreement with results from real-space image analysis. Additionally, all methods indicate that the droplets are getting larger as they are introduced into composites, suggesting that the droplets are agglomerating or possibly coalescing during dispersion. This work demonstrates the viability of X-ray scattering to elucidate structural information about liquid metal droplets for material development for applications in soft robotics, soft electronics, and multifunctional materials. 
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