HomeEducationGraduate and Undergraduate ProgramsResearch Experience for Undergraduates (REU)Mini-Monomer Encapsulated Emulsion ARGET ATRP of Acrylates and Methacrylates

Mini-Monomer Encapsulated Emulsion ARGET ATRP of Acrylates and Methacrylates

Professor: Christopher Ober 

Project Description: Mini-Monomer Encapsulated Emulsion ARGET ATRP (Mini-ME emulsion) was developed in this lab to polymerize polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) mitigating limitations of other conventional forms of emulsion polymerization techniques, such as monomer transport through the aqueous phase and ultra-high shear sonication. This method was proven successful yielding controlled polymerizations of PMMA with low dispersities (Mw/Mn<1.17). One goal of this project is to implement Mini-ME emulsions for the fabrication of polymer-grafted nanoparticles (PGNs) to form 2D and 3D arrays with neighboring PGNs. These arrays can be formed through polymer entanglement or through dipolar hydrogen bonding on neighboring particles. In this project, we will test a monomer with a latent photochemical moiety, o-nitrobenzyl methacrylate, with Mini-ME emulsions and optimize the polymerization conditions. This work will require the synthesis of the monomer, polymerization using Mini-ME emulsions on SiO2 nanoparticles, and testing the polarity transformation of the polymer when triggered with light. This work will be done in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory where mechanical and optical testing of films made from these arrays will be performed.

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