Supramolecular polymeric assemblies represent an emerging, promising class of systems with superior versatility compared to their covalent polymeric counterparts. They offer exciting new opportunities for stimuli-responsive structures exhibiting reversible tunable properties, with applications in foodstuff, coatings , cost-efficient processes or biomedical areas. To explore their potential and define strategies for designing novel materials amenable to contemporary needs, a fundamental understanding of their very complex and diverse multiscale supramolecular structure and dynamics is needed. In this regard, a synergy of synthetic chemistry (including both model and industrial systems), physical experiment and modeling are necessary. The objective of SUPOLEN is to understand and tailor the structure and dynamics of supramolecular polymers based on well-defined building blocks, mainly monodisperse linear and star-like polymers. The systematic, thorough study of their behavior offers many possibilities for tailoring their organization and dynamic response, and allows tackling important questions such as :
- understanding the combined effect of the dynamics of the associating groups (strength, position, number and nature) and the internal dynamics of the building blocks (entanglements and architecture);
- exploring the role played by external stimuli;
- investigating their behavior in solution as well as in the melt; and
- developing predictive tools for designing new materials.
The project is highly interdisciplinary and inter-sectorial, the groups involved are world-leaders in their fields, and the tasks and partners are strategically linked. SUPOLEN reflects European leadership in the field. It offers young researchers a unique training platform with appropriate exposure to a broad range of emerging topics in soft matter and to the industrial sector. It will provide them with the needed tools for addressing relevant scientific and technological challenges.