16Dendritic Polymer Micelles for Drug Delivery

Mosa Alsehli1,2 and Mario Gauthier1,*

1 University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

2 Taibah University, Madina, Saudi Arabia

16.1 Introduction

Branched polymers have physical properties distinct from their linear analogues. For example, high‐density polyethylene, a linear polymer without any branches, has a high degree of crystallinity, making it a tough material. On the other hand, the multiple short branches present along the backbone of low‐density polyethylene lead to a lower degree of crystallinity and increased ductility [1, 2]. By controlling the degree of branching, it is thus possible to obtain polymers with properties tailored for specific applications.

Dendritic polymers are a class of branched macromolecules characterized by a highly branched tree‐like architecture, incorporating multiple branching levels, resulting from the coupling reactions of either small molecule monomers (hyperbranched polymers and dendrimers; Figure 16.1a, b), or macromolecular building blocks (dendrigraft polymers; Figure 16.1c) [36]. These materials can be synthesized with good control over molecular size, branching functionality, and chemical functionality of the chain ends [7]. These molecules have a unique combination of features including a compact globular topology and diameters ranging from 1 to over 100 nm, the presence of internal cavities, and a large number of functional groups at their periphery. Due to these remarkable features, ...

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