Nanoporous Materials Employing Disordered Block Polymers as Key Ingredients
McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair
Distinguished University Teaching Professor
Center for Sustainable Polymers Director
Department of Chemistry
University of Minnesota
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Abstract: Self-assembled block polymers containing a sacrificial (i.e., chemically etchable) component are versatile precursors to functional nanoporous materials. The two most common ordered morphologies used to generate nanoporous materials in this way are the hexagonally-packed cylindrical and bicontinuous gyroid phases. In this talk I will discuss our approaches to nanostructured, bicontinuous but disorganized morphologies through either thermal or light-induced chemical fixation of block polymers in the disordered state in close proximity to the order-disorder transition. Composition fluctuations in disordered block polymers can be trapped using this versatile strategy. In the cases where one of the blocks is chemically etchable (e.g., polylactide), nanoporous polymers with narrow pore size distributions can be generated and utilized as, for example, ultrafiltration membranes for water purification. I will focus on the synthesis, characterization and applications of this class of nanoporous and related nanostructured materials.