A group of researchers at the Imperial College, London, have fabricated a new multi-functional polymer having an impressive molecular precision. The sequence-defined new class of polymer could open up new opportunities in areas such as nanotechnology, drug delivery, and information storage. The researchers have used a new way of synthesis, called Nanostar Sieving, which is a combination of liquid-phase synthesis and molecular sieving.
The new method enables researchers to completely control the monomer sequences used to formulate the final polyether. This imparts functionalities in the polymer such as drug delivery to specific sites in the body and information storage in monomer order. Several biopolymers are available in the nature, which boast of impressive precision in the sequence structure. The functional and structural diversity of these polymers makes them suitable for undertaking several functions in the body. A good example of naturally occurring biopolymer is proteins in the body.
Structural Precision Comparable with Natural Polymers
Researchers have fabricated synthetic polymers that mimic natural biopolymers and this area of research continues to be active. This is because polymers such as polyethers are highly important in bio sciences owing to their biocompatibility and water solubility. These features make polyethers highly important in surgery and medicines. However, polymers formed from conventional methods lack in terms of precision as compared to naturally available polymers; the new polyether, however, surpasses all past experiences in terms of structural precision.
The team now plans to explore the practical uses of the polyether and extend their study to other polymers. The researchers will focus on developing a biodegradable version of the polymer, being able to closely supervising the 3D structure of the final polymer, and developing read-write methods for automating the synthesis of the polymer and storing information.