skip to main content


Title: Morphology and Proton Transport in Humidified Phosphonated Peptoid Block Copolymers

Polymers that conduct protons in the hydrated state are of crucial importance in a wide variety of clean energy applications such as hydrogen fuel cells and artificial photosynthesis. Phosphonated and sulfonated polymers are known to conduct protons at low water content. In this study, we report on the synthesis phosphonated peptoid diblock copolymers, poly-N-(2-ethyl)hexylglycine-block-poly-N-phosphonomethylglycine (pNeh-b-pNpm), with volume fractions of pNpm (Φ Npm) values ranging from 0.13 to 0.44 and dispersity (¯D) ≤ 1.0003. The morphologies of the dry block copolypeptoids were determined by transmission electron microscopy and in both the dry and hydrated states by synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering. Dry samples with Φ Npm > 0.13 exhibited a lamellar morphology. Upon hydration, the lowest molecular weight sample transitioned to a hexagonally packed cylinder morphology, while the others maintained their dry morphologies. Water uptake of all of the ordered samples was 8.1 ± 1.1 water molecules per phosphonate group. In spite of this, the proton conductivity of the ordered pNeh-b-pNpm copolymers ranged from 0.002 to 0.008 S/cm. Finally, we demonstrate that proton conductivity is maximized in high molecular weight, symmetric pNeh-b-pNpm copolymers.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [2]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Qingdao Univ. of Science and Technology (China)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; GM51487; 51503115
Published Article
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 49; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 0024-9297
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); National Inst. of Health (NIH) (United States); National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1379302