The applicant will work on the synthesis, characterisation and evaluation of both polypyrrole- and polyaniline - coated latex particles and surface - functionalised polypyrrole - silica particles.
In the first system near - monodisperse latexes will be coated with a thin (< 20nm) overlayer of polypyrrole or polyaniline using a protocole developed by DSM Research. The thickness of this conducting polymer overlayer will be varied so as to optimise the colloid stability, particle coalescence and electrical conductivity of these film - forming dispersions, which will then be used to develop environmentally - friendly, aqueous - based anti - static and anti - corrosion coatings. In the second system the applicant will extend earlier work at the host institution by synthesising polypyrrole - silica micro particles which contain a high surface concentration of ether amine or carboxylic acid groups. These novel colloids will be characterised in terms of their particle size, conducting polymer content, extent of surface functionalisation etc. by a wide range of techniques, including electron microscopy, disc centrifugation, light scattering, TGA, FTIR, XPS. The functionalised polypyrrole- silica particles will be evaluated for use as novel "marker" particles in immunodiagnostic assays in collaboration with Polymer Laboratories, a U.K. - based SME.