Our PhD student Aleksander Guzik, working on a PhD thesis aimed at developing new polymeric surfactants for Enhanced Oil Recovery (more on EOR here, if you are interested), just published an excellent work on a new synthetic method for amphiphilic block polyelectrolytes, based on the use of a ionic liquid as the hydrophilic monomer in a RAFT process.
These polymers, that Alex invetigates for applications in EOR, are also of interest for many other uses, such as biomedical hydrogels, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, conductive membranes, responsive materials for soft robotics.
The advantage of our method, is that you can make block copolymers characterized by a strongly hydrophobic block and a strongly hydrophilic one, in homogeneous conditions, and with good control over the structure. This avoids tedious methods based on protection-deprotection, and may offer better control over heterogeneous methods such as PISA.
You can read the full article here.
These polymers show spontaneous self-assembly in water, and interesting properties in solution, that will be published in future papers.
Congratulations to Alex for this interesting work!