Polymeric nanostructures for chemical and biomedical applications

Michael K.C. Tam, Department of Chemical Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Waterloo,

29 May 2009 at 10:30

Location: JHE 342

Nanotechnology is anticipated to be the next technological wave that will drive many of the innovations in science and engineering. This talk will focus on a class of amphiphilic polymers that self-assemble into different types of nanostructure, depending on the solvent environment and external stimuli. Self assembled nanostructures can exist in many different forms, such as spherical micelles, rod-like micelles, bi-layers, vesicles, bi-continuous structure etc. Most biological systems are basically comprised of many of these organised structures arranged in an intelligent manner, which impart functions and life to the system. We adopted the atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) technique to synthesize various types of block copolymer systems that self-assemble into different nanostructures when subject to an external stimuli, such as pH or temperature. Using a combination of various physical techniques, such as dynamic and static light scattering, surface tensiometry, transmission electron microscopy etc, the morphologies of various types of self-assembled nanostructures were quantified. Extension of the work to fullerene grafted with well-defined pH responsive polymers was conducted, resulting in various types of novel self-assembled fullerene nanostructures. The physical properties and the characteristics of their self-assembly properties will be discussed, and their implications to drug/gene delivery applications will be highlighted.

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