In our research group we design and synthesize polymeric products (mostly amphiphilic) of potential interest for industrial applications. Amphiphilic polymers find use in very diverse areas. They are found for example in biomedical devices, pharmaceutical emulsions, coatings, sensors and actuators for robotics, petroleum engineering fluids, agrochemical products.

Our approach is based on preparing tailored structures (with respect of monomer choice, molecular weight, composition, etc…), mostly by ATRP and RAFT polymerization, but also on polycondensation, when required by the desired structure and properties.

We study relevant properties, especially, rheological and interfacial ones and we test the polymers for a certain application. In this way, we obtain information on which structural parameters needs to be considered in the design of a polymeric product for that specific application. Applications investigated includes: enhanced oil recovery, emulsifiers (for pharmaceutical or cosmetics products), pH, temperature and salinity responsive systems for sensing, actuation and drug delivery.


Recently, we started investigating polymers prepared from bio-based sources, such as side streams from sugar industry, starch, or lignin, for the preparation of sustainable polymeric surfactants, and smart biodegradable coatings for controlled release in agrochemical industry.

Controlled synthesis of amphiphilic polymers for industrial applications

New polymeric surfactants for enhanced oil recovery

Functional polymeric materials for soft robotics on micro scale

From sugar industry side streams to biodegradable polymeric materials

Adhesive and coating materials from hydrophobically modified starch in supercrtitical CO2

Superhydrophobic and self-healing polyurethane coatings

Amphiphilic block copolymers for anti-biofilms and drug delivery applications

New sugar-derived polymeric surfactants (with Royal Cosun)

Cationic Polyester resins as anti-stain and antibacterials wood coatings (with DSM)

Amphiphilic Polymers in nanocomposite materials with sensing properties (with University of Pisa)

Amphiphilic polymers from lignin and polysaccharides (with other research groups at RUG)

Bio-based superarbsorbent polymers (with other research groups at RUG and DSM)

Self-healing materials based on reversible cross-linking via Diels-Alder (with other research groups at RUG)

(c) Raffalab / Patrizio Raffa research group