Synthesis of Novel Smart Polymer with Controlled Molecular Structure
Promising candidates for next generation sensors, drug delivery vehicles or chemical logic gate operators are smart polymers. These smart polymers undergo a significant physical change when exposed to small changes in the local environment. This environmental stimulus can be anything from temperature, electrical potential, pH or even light. Good molecular control of the polymers is essential to tune the responsiveness or to incorporate multiple, different stimuli-responses. Over the last 15-20 years the interest in reversible-deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP) more commonly known as controlled radical polymerization (CRP) has vastly expanded due to its ability to produce highly defined polymers on a molecular level, which rival those produced by traditional, and more stringent, living techniques such as ionic polymerization. Nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP), a type of CRP, has realistic scale-up potential and can be used to produce highly defined smart polymers without the need of air-free transfers, transition metal catalysts or problematic thiol agents. Therefore, no additional purification of the final polymer is necessary prior to being used for sensitive electronic or biological applications. My research focuses on using NMP for the synthesis of model functional materials with controlled microstructure for numerous applications such as organic electronic applications.