NYU CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT
The integration of supramolecular chemistry into polymer chemistry has challenged chemists to synthesize architectures that can fold into well-defined 3D frameworks, owing to the potential to comprehend fundamental biological processes (e.g. protein folding, enzymatic catalysis) and apply principles governing such processes to materials science applications. In this context, the organization of biopolymers (e.g. DNA and proteins) into 3D hierarchical structures is the key to their remarkable functions. This organization is brought about by a combination of mutually-compatible noncovalent reversible interactions (e.g. hydrogen bonds, Columbic interactions). Exploitation of these self-assembly processes for the construction of functional materials is attractive, owing to an inherent reversibility, selectivity, simplicity, and self-healing. Indeed, synthetic efforts to rival the complexity of biological systems are dependent upon achieving multiple orthogonal noncovalent interactions within a desired architecture with a high degree of fidelity.
Recently, we have reported the use of ring-opening metathesis polymerization ROMP to achieve telechelic poly(p-phenylene vinylene)s that are π-sheet forming networks, and achieved the formation of supramolecular diblock copolymers featuring unique combinations of sheets, helices, and coils. We have also reported on the synthesis and assembly behavior of telechelic helical polymers comprising poly(isocyanide)s and poly(methacrylamide)s via anionic polymerization and RAFT, respectively. While the synthesis and assembly of such building blocks is not trivial, further goals remain in centered in achieving hierarchical assembly and complex multi-domain materials via supramolecular assembly. Current projects remain focused on utilizing simple supramolecular building blocks to develop larger complex assemblies that feature bio-inspired structures, sequences, and functions.