The development of nanostructured soft materials based on the solution self-assembly of polymers is an area of intense global interest. The self-assembly of semicrystalline-coil block copolymers is virtually unexplored but offers new opportunities to prepare well-defined micelles and enhances the opportunities to fabricate and manipulate novel nanostructures with tailored properties. This represents an important challenge for the successful exploitation of their potential for future technological applications ranging from stimuli-responsive nanoscaffolds to composite materials with improved functional characteristics. Recent advances in processing approaches using crystalline-coil systems with metalloblocks have provided new levels of tailorability to the self-assembled structures formed by block copolymer assemblies in solution. The generalization of this approach to other materials renders feasible the precise bottom-up formation of a broad range of unique functional nanostructures. As a result of the distinctive physical properties and functions of the constitutional components, diblock copolymers containing crystalline stereocomplexed polylactide or polycaprolactone segments will be studied as they provide an exciting opportunity to access novel hierarchically structured polymeric nanoobjects with predetermined properties.
This interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research proposal requires a wide range of skills and combines the expertise of the applicant (polymer synthesis and self-assembly in the solid state) with that of the host laboratory (polymer chemistry, block polymer self-assembly in solution, materials chemistry, and nanoscience). The proposed fellowship will bring a promising young researcher to the UK for 2 years to be followed his return, preferably to Greece, or relocation elsewhere in the EU.
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