Polymer and colloid synthesis

Polymer synthesis. Our group specializes in controlled radical polymerization (CRP) techniques such as ATRP and RAFT mainly for the synthesis of functional block copolymers and polymer architectures. CRPs give precise control over block length and polymer composition, and are tolerant to almost any monomer functionality. ABC triblock terpolymers are emphasized and consist of three covalently linked polymer blocks of different chemistry. Depending on the monomer chemistry, the blocks can respond to stimuli such as temperature, pH, salinity, light, or subtle changes in solvent polarity. These block copolymers serve as basic structural elements for the predictive self-assembly of nanostructures with 10-100 nm periodicities, defined shape, compartments, and surface pattern. Over the years, our group has synthesized a large variety of ABC triblock terpolymers and developed methods that allow to generate diverse soft matter materials in bulk, emulsions and dilute solution.

Emulsion polymerization. We utilize surfactant free emulsion polymerization to create colloidal particles with near-monodisperse size-distribution in the range of 100-1000 nm. We typically synthesize isotropic latex particles with simple chemistry (e.g. PS, PMMA), but progress towards more complex particle shapes and compositions. We currently work on recipes that will generate microparticles with core-shell structure for acid/base catalyzed cascade reactions.

Sequential polymerization of ABC triblock terpolymers from monomers A, B, and C.
© A. Gröschel