In this project the new hyper-branched polymers, polymer brushes will be prepared. Polymer brushes which have the same number of side chains as degree of polymerisation of the main chain are architecturally interesting for both experimental and theoretical chemists because of the possibility to form extended chain conformations, based on the intra-molecular excluded-volume interactions between side chains densely grafted to the backbone. Possible practical usage of highly branched brush polymers with chromophore containing side chains is in the solar collectors. The side chains collect the solar energy with efficiency and concentrate it to the chromophore on the polymer backbone-end chain group – antenna effect.
Another potential application is the realization of soft nanomachines. Linear flexible chains with densely grafted long side chains exhibit the shape of cylindrical brushes provided that the main chain is much longer than the side chains. With increasing repulsion of the side chains the main chain is stretched until the entropic restoring force of the main chain balances the repulsive forces originating form the interactions between the side chains. Equilibrium between both forces can be moved by external impulse. In case of our prepared labelled polymers this external impulse can be absorption and emission of light of presented chromophores. Techniques switch on/off can produce a mechanical action of soft nanomachines.
The macromolecules will be prepared by ATRP. This type of polymerisation allows using functionalised monomers and introduction of reactive end-groups in polymer segments. It provides also narrow molar mass distribution necessary for preparation of polymers with well-defined morphology.
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