Polymers have been at the forefront of soft nanomaterials research due to their advantages including inexpensive feedstocks, versatile chemical compositions and nanometer-sized scale. In addition to well-established commodity applications, synthetic and biological macromolecules have been recently explored in specialty areas as diverse as nanoelectronics, data storage devices, new energy, healthcare, and biotechnology. These emerging markets generated new directions in fundamental and applied polymer research to design macromolecules with controlled chemical compositions, molecular weights and distributions, site-specific functionalities and architectures, which represent a robust multidisciplinary area, i.e., macromolecular engineering.
Our research embraces all the aspects of a successful materials design, from building structure-tailored polymers to analyzing their supermolecular organization and finally to testing their macroscopic properties. The main thrust is to design functional polymers and understand their structure-property relationships. These soft nanomaterials will meet critical challenges in broad fields of nanotechnology and biomedical sciences, including nanodevice construction, gas separation, catalysis, drug delivery and molecular electronics. The multidisciplinary nature in this research program allows students to acquire diverse synthetic and analytical skills and develop broad scientific vision in organic chemistry, polymer chemistry and materials science. Several
interesting projects currently carried out in this group are:
1. Polymer synthesis and functionalization via efficient and
2. Biomimetic folding of single synthetic polymer chains for shape-persistent
3. Exploiting the assembly of nanostructured building blocks for
4. Electro-active polymers and nanocomposites.