Creating novel building blocks, which allow for an easy and large-scale fabrication of complex materials, is a challenge and a central goal of diverse scientific fields, ranging from Physics to Materials Science.
In recent publications, I introduced di-block copolymer stars (or telechelic star polymers - TSPs) as novel self-assembling building blocks (“soft legos”), made of a soft core, decorated by a tunable number of functionalized regions or patches.
TSPs have a robust and flexible architecture and they possess the ability to self-assemble at different levels. At the single-molecule level, they first order as soft patchy colloids which serve then as “soft Lego” for the emergence of larger structures. At the supramolecular level of self-assembly, the soft colloids form complex crystal structures, such as for example diamond or cubic phases.
In this project I propose to investigate how such a novel class of highly versatile tunable building blocks can be applied to the self-assembly of novel and designable soft-materials and how to exploit their self- assembly properties for a controlled adsorption and release of nanomaterial into functionalised predetermined regions.
IIn contrast to many functionalised building blocks, telechelic star polymers particles are soft and they self-assemble into patchy structures, without the need for cumbersome synthesis techniques. The quantitative multiscale approach that will be used to carry out the theoretical part of this project, will allow a direct mapping to an experimental realization of the system.
The objective of this proposal is to investigate how to induce and control a tunable adsorption of nanomaterial within the intramolecular TSP’s self-assembling process, and to use such particles to perform controllable delivery of nanomaterial into target functionalised regions.