Chemistry is fundamental not just to the design of small molecules, but increasingly to the preparation of materials ranging from hard colloidal nanomaterials to soft complex macromolecular architectures. These materials have been used by humans throughout the ages: from the Lycurgus Cup of ancient Rome to natural polymers such as wool and silk. This course will explore the synthesis and characterisation of such materials, as well as the physical chemistry that underpins their behaviour both in solution and in the solid state. A particular emphasis will be placed on chemistry at the interface, the modification of surfaces, and the self-assembly of block copolymers for the preparation of nanostructures materials.
Lectures and tutorials will be complemented by an integrated laboratory course involving the synthesis of gold nanoparticles and controlled radical polymers, and their combination to prepare stimuli responsive networks. A number of characterisation techniques including NMR, size exclusion chromatography, light scattering and electron microscopy will be taught through the laboratory component.
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