“Design-to-Synthesis in Polymer Chemistry. How engineering principles enable unprecedented control in polymer synthesis”
Advances in polymerization techniques have enabled the synthesis of polymers with precise composition, architecture and molecular weight. My group has further extended the control achievable by these techniques through the implementation of reactor engineering principles. We pioneered two design-to-synthesis concepts where polymers with any arbitrary shape or molecular weight distribution can be synthesized starting from a simple pen-and-paper drawing of the targeted product. The success of our innovation resides in integrating reactor engineering principles, kinetic modeling, and polymer chemistry. We first developed a design-to-synthesis protocol to produce macromolecules with any axisymmetric shape. We then developed a design-to-synthesis protocol to produce polymers with programmable molecular weight distributions. Importantly, this approach is compatible with all living polymerization methods. In this presentation, I will present both methodology developments and describe some of the opportunities they open.