Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > New molecules with many branches will help unleash potential of nanotechnology

Abstract:
Materials science and the pharmaceutical industry could soon be revolutionized by emerging nanotechnologies based on designer molecules with long complex tree-and branch structures. Such molecules offer almost limitless scope for design of bespoke compounds for specific applications in disease therapy, for novel materials such as resins, as well as electronic displays, and energy storage. Almost every field involving design and synthesis of chemical compounds will be transformed by the arrival of technologies allowing nanoscale design of these branched molecules, known as hyperbranched polymers.

New molecules with many branches will help unleash potential of nanotechnology

Europe | Posted on October 27th, 2008

The great potential of the field, and corresponding challenges in exploiting it, were discussed at a recent workshop organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF)(Convenor: Dr. K. Karatasos, Co-Convenor: Dr. Alexey Lyulin). The workshop revealed the great scope of hyperbranched polymers and discussed how Europe in particular should respond to the challenges, such as identifying research priorities from the huge range of possibilities.

But the immediate challenge is to develop an underlying research infrastructure for building the technologies required to develop new products, for this is very much an applied field of science. This will require uniting the two sides of the field, those experimenting with these compounds in the laboratory, and theoretical chemists simulating novel hyperbranches molecules on a computer, as Konstantinos Karatasos, the workshop's convenor, pointed out.

"In principle these two communities do not interact at a desirable level," said Karatasos. "This was partly attributed to the fact that there is a lack of a "common language" between the two sides so that information can be exchanged in an efficient manner. It was proposed that this deficiency can be remedied to a certain degree, when people with different backgrounds work in a multidisciplinary environment where contacts between them are realized in a more frequent basis so that familiarization with each other's work and exchange of ideas becomes easier."

Hyperbranched polymers have already been used to develop materials such as resins and wood coatings with improved durability and resistance to abrasion. These exploit the fact that molecules with multiple branches tend to cling together more strongly, making them resistant to wear. But hyperbranched polymers also have other properties, such as low viscosity, which makes them suitable for applications such as flexible electronic displays.

But perhaps the most exciting property of hyperbranched polymers is the sheer range of compounds that can be made by manipulating the terminal side chains of the molecule to change its chemical character. This is now being exploited in a new generation of vaccines and other compounds designed to give people long term protection against infectious disease. At the ESF workshop delegates heard from Dr. Ulrik Boas from the University of Copenhagen how hyperbranched polymers can provide scaffolding for constructing new adjuvants, which are substances that upon injection activate a person's immune system against a particular pathogen. Boas reported that hyperbranched polymers can be used to interact with PAMPs (Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns), which are motifs on the surface of microbes that can be used by the immune system to identify and then destroy them.

The workshop also revealed industrial applications building on existing work, with Dr. Christopher Plummer from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland explaining that hyperbranched polymers were capable of being tuned to highly specific levels of key attributes such as solubility, miscibility (ability to mix), as well as viscosity. The key point is that the chemical and physical properties of a molecule are determined by the surface characteristics rather than the internal structure, and hyperbranched polymers have large numbers of terminal branch points on the surface capable of being changed. As Plummer pointed out, this brings scope for improving on existing materials, for example designing ultra strong epoxy-resins that can undergo secondary toughening by addition of a hyperbranched polymer compound, whose low viscosity makes the mixing easier.

But the greatest public interest in hyperbranched polymers is being generated by the medical potential, and another exciting application on this front could lie in their use to combat currently incurable diseases involving formation of plaques comprising wrongly folded proteins, such as Alzheimer's and prion diseases like CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jacob) disease. Highly branched molecules called dendrimers have already been shown capable of interacting with the proteins that combine together in plaques to cause these diseases, with evidence that this process can be inhibited, according to Barbara Klajnert from the University of Lodz in Poland in the workshop's first presentation.

Many other topics were discussed, and the workshop set the stage for future collaboration among Europe's leading research groups in this highly promising field. The ESF Exploratory Workshop, Hyperbranched polymers as novel materials for nanoscale applications:insight from experiment, theory and simulations (HYPER-NANO) was held in Fodele in Greece during May 2008.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Konstantinos Karatasos

30-231-099-5850

Copyright © European Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics: Scientists' use of common glass to optimize graphene's electronic properties could improve technologies from flat screens to solar cells February 12th, 2016

A metal that behaves like water: Researchers describe new behaviors of graphene February 12th, 2016

News and information

'Lasers rewired': Scientists find a new way to make nanowire lasers: Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley scientists adapt next-gen solar cell materials for a different purpose February 12th, 2016

Breaking cell barriers with retractable protein nanoneedles: Adapting a bacterial structure, Wyss Institute researchers develop protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells February 12th, 2016

Replacement of Toxic Antibacterial Agents Possible by Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposites February 12th, 2016

Properties of Polymeric Nanofibers Optimized to Treat Damaged Body Tissues February 12th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

A metal that behaves like water: Researchers describe new behaviors of graphene February 12th, 2016

Replacement of Toxic Antibacterial Agents Possible by Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposites February 12th, 2016

SLAC X-ray laser turns crystal imperfections into better images of important biomolecules: New method could remove major obstacles to studying structures of complex biological machines February 11th, 2016

Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology February 10th, 2016

Announcements

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics: Scientists' use of common glass to optimize graphene's electronic properties could improve technologies from flat screens to solar cells February 12th, 2016

Breaking cell barriers with retractable protein nanoneedles: Adapting a bacterial structure, Wyss Institute researchers develop protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells February 12th, 2016

Replacement of Toxic Antibacterial Agents Possible by Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposites February 12th, 2016

Properties of Polymeric Nanofibers Optimized to Treat Damaged Body Tissues February 12th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic