Logo JG-Universität MainzProf. Dr. Axel Müller


DFG Mu896/40-1: Development of Robust Strategies for Polymer Syntheses and Application to the Preparation of Functionalized Macromolecular Assemblies - Responsive Janus Nanostructures (IUPAC International Pilot Call in the Chemical Sciences)
From 02/2011 to 12/2013
Project leader: Axel H. E. Müller, Craig J. Hawker, University of California at Santa Barbara, Eric Drockenmuller, Université de Lyon
Coworkers: Francesca Bennet

The overarching aim of this project is to combine the core competencies of 3 research laboratories in France, Germany and the United States to investigate the development of robust synthetic strategies for functionalized polymers and apply these novel materials/processes to the preparation of macromolecular assemblies. A driving force for this effort is the application of functional soft materials to address resource, health and energy issues. This is a trans-national problem and can be addressed most efficiently with multi-national teams. The challenge of matching functional group requirements with efficient synthetic approaches is present in a range of industrial and research settings with an increasing necessity to construct soft material systems with precise control over architecture, domain size, functionality, polarity, solubility and reactivity. An underlying theme of this project is to develop synthetic approaches that rely on high yielding and user friendly chemistry, so called “click” reactions. Not only do these efforts expand synthetic methodologies in a fundamental sense, but they also greatly increase the range of structures that can be prepared while the simplified techniques allow a much wider spectrum of researcher’s access to these materials. We propose to combine living polymerization techniques such as anionic or controlled radical vinyl polymerization and ring opening polymerization of lactones/carbonates/lactides, etc. with efficient functionalization chemistry such as thiol-ene, azide crosslinking, etc. This will allow access to tailor-made, multifunctional materials and dramatically impact and enhance the development of a fundamental understanding of the molecular origins of the properties required for efficient energy generation/storage, disease detection/treatment, robust sensor systems, etc. The innovation afforded through the discovery and utilization of new synthetic reagents, programmable functional groups and novel polymeric structures is significant and if successful will greatly increase the accessibility of these synthetic strategies and materials to as wide a group of researchers as possible.

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