Polyaramides are materials that have been used in the manufacture of bullet proof vests and sports equipment for many years. Their excellent materials properties are largely due to their rigid rod-like geometry and their ability to form weak (hydrogen bond) interactions between the rigid polymer chains.
We want to exploit the rigid rod-like characteristics of shorter and more soluble versions of the above-mentioned polymers as molecular scaffolds for the construction of nanoscopic architectures.
In one sub-project we use these materials to build helices from linear and angled building blocks. A combination of covalent and non-covalent interactions allows us to assemble linear segments containing a kink into long helical polymers. One aim is to explore whether it is possible to make tubular helices with a large inner void. These could be used for the construction of porous membranes, low density materials, as nano-reactors or as molecular carriers.
In another sub-project, we want to use similar rigid rod-like building blocks as molecular rulers. By attaching anchor sites at well-defined distances we could attach nanoparticles, chromophores or other compounds at precisely defined distances from each other. This can allow us to study the distance dependend interaction of such compounds.