Activation and deactivation of the polymerization process using a switchable model

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Credit: Bas van Ravensteijn

The regulation of the polymerization process is of great interest for industrial and medical applications. In an article published in Angewandte ChemieTU/e researchers not only show that they can control the process and are able to switch it on and off, but they can also control the properties of the resulting polymer materials.

The manufacture of polymers (long molecular strands) from a template has already been possible for some time. In the Self-Organizing Soft Matter Research Group of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e, research by Prof. Ilja Voets and Dr. Bas van Ravensteijn has now shown that they can also activate and disable the curing process using a switchable model.

With this, they can regulate the formation of polymers and also influence the physical properties of the final model. structures. In the long term, this offers the the ability to package sensitive genetic material (DNA, RNA, mRNA) or proteins in a more controlled manner, making them suitable for and for other medical purposes. An article about the invention of this phenomenon was published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

This work focused on the manufacture of polymers consisting of a part without filler and a part with a in the presence of a positively charged molecular matrix. During polymerization, negatively charged monomers are added in stages to the uncharged part.

The interactions between the polymers being formed and the matrices lead to polymer structures of several tens of nanometers. In these structures, the charged parts are located in the core which is protected from the environment by the charge-neutral polymer segments. The rate and therefore the details of these structures depend on the path you choose: how often you activate or deactivate the model, for example.

This work should have an impact on important fields of application of these types of polymeric structures, for example for the controlled encapsulation of sensitive therapeutic materials such as DNA, (m)RNA and proteins.

“Switchable Electrostatically Templated Polymerization” was first published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition June 29, 2022.

More information:
Chendan Li et al, Switchable Electrostatic Matrix Polymerization, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2022). DOI: 10.1002/anie.202206780

Quote: Enabling and Disabling the Polymerization Process Using a Switchable Template (2022, September 27) Retrieved November 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-polymerization-switchable-template.html

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