This proposal details the preparation of novel electromechanical polymers based on mechanically interlocked molecules. These synthetic muscle-like fibres would function via entirely new mechanisms of actuation and have potential applications in the medical, engineering and nanotechnology sectors. In general terms the overall project aim is to couple the latest catalytic mechanical bond-forming methodologies with recent advances in conjugated polymer synthesis to formulate a new generation high performance electromechanical materials. This multidisciplinary research programme integrates aspects of organic, supramolecular and physical chemistry together with materials science. The project objectives will be achieved via a three phase research programme that combines realistic project milestones with focused training activities in materials processing and analysis. The research would be carried out by a promising European scientist at MIT, USA under the supervision of Prof. Swager and at the University of Edinburgh, UK in the group of Prof. Leigh. The researcher’s previous experience in organic/supramolecular chemistry and successful academic track record would be exploited during the initial phase of the project and then complemented by intensive training in polymer preparation, processing, analysis and electromechanical device testing. The advanced training provided by the outgoing host would then be applied during the reintegration period through mentoring and collaborative activities. Overall this research programme would facilitate scientific advances at the interface between molecular devices and materials science, foster collaboration between world leading groups in the US and Europe and would effectively bridge the gap between the researchers current position as a skilled research scientist and a position of complete academic independence and professional maturity.
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