Fundamentals of Self-Assembly

In the field of synthetic polymer chemistry, the synthesis of well-defined covalent polymers and copolymers is well established. Copolymers with desired microstructures and properties are attained by tuning monomer reactivities, which is embedded in their molecular structures. As a next step, we would like to translate this understanding of monomer design versus monomer reactivity to the realm of supramolecular (co)polymerisation. To achieve this, we use an integrated approach. On the one hand, we combine monomer synthesis with studies on the microstructure of the formed polymers and copolymers. On the other hand, we use mathematical models that permit the extraction of thermodynamic parameters of the systems. In addition, we study how the monomer structure relates to the dynamic behaviour of the polymer system. We do these studies both in organic media as well as in water. Our ultimate aim is to elucidate the relation between polymer morphology, chemical structure and assembly mechanism, and the dynamic behaviour of the exchange processes.

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