The Polymer Research Program, Department of Chemistry
University of Florida
Exploiting Light to Facilitate Macromolecular Synthesis: Ultra-High MoNew Resorbable Materials and Inks are Needed if Additive Manufacturing Will Really Change Medicine
Advances in living polymerizations, especially controlled radical polymerization, have enabled the design of well-defined polymers with controlled molecular weights and architectures, though most methods enable control only up to modest molecular weights. An ability to target well-defined ultrahigh molecular weight (UHMW) polymers could allow an unprecedented opportunity to investigate important fundamental principles in self-assembly and phase segregation. This presentation will describe catalyst-free photopolymerization conditions that facilitate the synthesis of UHMW polymers in environmentally friendly aqueous solvents to achieve near-quantitative monomer conversion by requiring only a readily available and low-energy light source or, in some cases, sunlight. Irradiation and hydrogen abstraction of thiocarbonylthio-terminated polymers prepared by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization is also shown to be a straightforward route to removing end groups that could otherwise present challenges for many applications. These methods have proven useful for accessing well-defined homopolymers, alternating copolymers, and block copolymers of exceptionally high molecular weight, with the latter having utility in photonic materials. Photopolymerization with low-energy light sources, typically by photoinduced electron transfer, also allows well-dened polymers to be directly grafted from delicate biological entities (e.g., proteins) to access well-dened and stimuli-responsive polymer-protein conjugates.
Professor Brent Sumerlin graduated with a BS from North Carolina State University in 1998 and received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Southern Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Charles McCormick. He continued his work as a Visiting Assistant Professor/Postdoctoral Research Associate in the group of Krzysztof Matyjaszewski at Carnegie Mellon University from 2003–2005. In 2005, he joined the Department of Chemistry at Southern Methodist University as an Assistant Professor, and in 2009 he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In the fall of 2012, Professor Sumerlin joined the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory
and the Center for Macromolecular Science & Engineering within the Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida, where he is currently the George Bergen Butler Professor of Polymer
Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was named a Kavli Fellow
(Frontiers of Science, National Academies of Sciences). Professor Sumerlin has won a
number of awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, NSF CAREER Award, ACS Leadership
Development Award, Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award, Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules
Young Investigator Award, and the Hanwha-Total IUPAC Award. He is an associate editor
of ACS Macro Letters.