Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 649–684 | Cite as

Nanostructured hydrophobic polyampholytes: self-assembly, stimuli-sensitivity, and application

  • Sarkyt KudaibergenovEmail author
  • Joachim Koetz
  • Nurxat NurajeEmail author


This review is devoted to recent applications and fundamental aspects of hydrophobic polyampholytes—unique macromolecules containing acid, base, and hydrophobic groups that simulate the behavior of proteins, amphoteric polypeptides, or poly(nucleotides) in solutions. Attention was primarily focused on hydrophobically modified polyampholytes (HMPA), sometimes called hydrophobic polyampholytes or amphoteric “polysoaps.” The dependence of structural, morphological, hydrodynamic, and conformational properties of HMPA on external stimuli such as pH medium, temperature, ionic strength, water-organic solvents is outlined. This work demonstrates the self-assembly of HMPA into micelles, reverse micelles, vesicles, lamellar aggregates, dendrimers, fractal structures, clusters, and other highly organized matters. The self-organization of HMPA at air-liquid, liquid-liquid, and solid-liquid interphase is a key problem for designing Langmuir-Blodgett (LB), layer-by-layer (LbL) films and surface modifications. The preparation and characterization of metal nanoparticles stabilized by HMPA along with applications of HMPA-protected metal nanoparticles in catalysis are summarized. Recent research and applications include HMPA as an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) agent, pour point depressant (PPD), and wax inhibitor. Biomedical and agricultural applications of HMPA, including cryopreservation of living cells by hydrophobic polyampholytes in the clinical practice of reproductive medicine, are outlined. Thus, the systematic analysis of literature data regarding the characterization and application of HMPA inspires other researchers to take new directions and viewpoints on this exclusive and exciting subject.

Graphical abstract

Hydrophobically modified polyampholytes can be assembled to form various self-assembled structures which show potential applications in the different fields.


Hydrophobically modified polyampholytes Self-assembly Stimuli-sensitivity Applications 



N.N. greatly acknowledges the financial support of ACSPRF (57095-DNI7). S.K. greatly acknowledges the financial support from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (IRN AP05131003, 2018-2020).

We express our thanks to Mr. Jensen Skoczlas for proofreading.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Engineering ProfileK.I. Satpayev Kazakh National Research Technical UniversityAlmatyKazakhstan
  2. 2.Institute of Polymer Materials and TechnologyAlmatyKazakhstan
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Department of Chemical EngineeringTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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