Polyelectrolyte synthesis

Developing new synthetic routes and applications for polyelectrolytes

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Semiconductive nanoparticles based on polyelectrolyte complexation

Because of their unique optoelectronic properties, semiconducting nanoparticles are revolutionary materials for various applications, including plastic electronics and biological imaging. Traditional approaches based on inorganic materials (“quantum dots”) or all-covalent semiconducting block copolymers (“polymer dots”) either involve toxic chemicals or highly complex synthesis routes, respectively. To avoid these problems, an innovative approach is proposed that starts from two water-soluble, easily available and non-toxic polymeric components. By combining both aqueous polyelectrolyte-based formulations, well-defined nanometer-sized semiconducting particles are expected to be formed spontaneously. Furthermore, the electrostatic interactions inside the particles may result in enhanced optoelectronic properties compared to traditional polymer dots.

People: Anton Hofman
Semiconducting “polymer dots” can show interesting optoelectronic properties

Reversible antifouling polymer coatings

Fouling are major challenges in a wide variety of applications, ranging from biomedical devices to membrane technology. Fouling of surfaces leads to an increase in energy consumption, together with an increase in operational and maintenance costs to keep these devices running. Currently used cleaning methods, which remove these fouling agents, are often incomplete and their harsh conditions may damage the system of interest. Coating the system with a dense layer of end-grafted polymer, a polymer brush, has proven to reduce the fouling behaviour, but their long-term stability is poor. We aim to develop reversible antifouling polymer coatings via a cheap and simple adsorption method. Moreover, if the polymer coating gets fouled or damaged, the coating can easily be removed and reapplied.

People: Annemarie Maan
The removal of fouling materials is a costly and time-consuming process in maritime transport