PhD Studentship: Reconfigurable Polymers via Supramolecular Self-Sorting
University of Leeds, Department of Chemistry and Chemical and Process Engineering
United Kingdom

Project description

The goal of this project is to mimic the ability of biological materials to force macromolecular reconfiguration using photo-switchable non-covalent self-sorting. Harnessing small molecule molecular recognition to control polymer architecture has tremendous potential for programming reconfigurable molecules with potential to bring about a revolution in advanced materials. Multiple hydrogen bonding arrays (MHAs) are capable of undergoing spontaneous reconfiguration to switch between different modes of molecular recognition.

Our group has recently developed self-sorting cascades and networks using MHAs that can be readily incorporated into supramolecular materials (Fig. 1a) 1,2. Combining these with controlled structure polymers which are easily prepared using the latest polymerization techniques 3,4 brings about an opportunity to produce macromolecular structures with tuneable functionality.

The student will develop a series of photo switchable ditopic hydrogen-bonding motifs that are capable of switching molecular recognition preference in response to light (Fig. 1b). These will be incorporated into a range of polymers to permit the assembly and disassembly into supramolecular block-copolymers mediated by light as demonstrated through state of the art materials characterization techniques.

This work is multidisciplinary and the successful candidate will work closely with a postdoctoral research associate as part of a team. The candidate will be situated within the School of Chemistry and Chemical and Process Engineering.

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