Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Materials science: Shape shifts heat tolerance

J. Am. Chem. Soc. doi:10.1021/ja104691j (2010)

Poorly soluble drugs and other chemicals can be dissolved in liquid by packaging them inside micelles — soluble molecular assemblies that often assume hollow spherical or floral shapes. Heat can rattle these structures apart, but attaching additional molecules to boost the micelles' heat resistance can change their size, shape or chemical properties.

Now Satoshi Honda, Takuya Yamamoto and Yasuyuki Tezuka at the Tokyo Institute of Technology show that a topological tweak improves the thermal stability of a micelle without affecting its other properties. Circular polymers formed micelles (pictured, left) that resisted fragmentation at temperatures some 40 °C higher than did physically and chemically identical micelles made from straight-chain polymers. The latter (right) have loose ends, which are more easily dislodged with heat. The authors showed that they could tune the thermal stability of micelles by creating them from varying ratios of the two polymers.

Credit: AM. CHEM. SOC.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Materials science: Shape shifts heat tolerance. Nature 466, 534 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/466534d

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing