Controlled radical polymerization techniques allow to combine functionality in polymers with well controlled architecture and control over molar mass. In the Dept. Polymer Structures the following techniques are used:
- ATRP (atom transfer radical polymerization)
- NMRP (nitroxide mediated radical polymerization)
- RAFT (reversible addition fragmentation transfer)
Via both, ATRP and NMRP, functional end groups are incorporated in methacrylate and styrene based polymers; ATRP is also used to functionalize branched structures with linear chains. Via NMRP a variety of hydroxystyrene based block copolymer structures have been synthesized which show interesting and well controllable nanostructures in thin films. For the preparation of special functionalized block copolymers and rod-coil-like structures NMRP has been combined with highly effective polymer analogous reactions, e.g. 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions.
The RAFT process is specially suited for the synthesis of polar and amphiphilic polymers which are expected to be used in biomedical applications. Here, first block copolymer structures could be realized having a thermoresponsive poly(NiPAAm) segment and a bioactive glycomonomer segment.