Polymer Chemistry & Materials

Motivated by the desire to create novel (nano)materials that exhibit currently unavailable properties and enable new applications, the primary research focus of the Polymer Chemistry and Materials group is the design, synthesis, and investigation of structure-property relationships of novel functional polymers. Of particular interest to us are stimuli-responsive polymers, which change (some of) their properties in a selective, predictable, and useful manner when exposed to a specific stimulus.

Due to their dynamic, stimuli-responsive nature, non-covalent interactions represent a versatile design element for the creation of such materials. We utilize hydrogen-bonds, pi-pi interactions, and metal-ligand binding to assemble small molecules, supramolecular polymers, and nanoparticles to create mechanochromic, mechanically adaptive, healable, and other responsive polymeric materials. In many of our projects we are inspired by Nature’s materials, and/or utilize bio-based building blocks, such as cellulose nanocrystals. Our interests and activities are interdisciplinary and range from the synthesis of new monomers and polymers, to advanced polymer processing, to the in-depth investigation and (in some cases) technological exploitation of materials with unusual but desirable properties.