There is currently no effective way to controllably access polymeric macrocycles for soft mesoporous materials for use in energy storage. An advantage of using block bottlebrush polymers (BBPs) for such applications is their ability to phase separate and self-assemble. Rather than lamellar sheets formed via the self-assembly of linear block BBPs, exploiting the self-assembly of cyclic block BBPs could result in the formation of mesopores and channels. Additionally, the use of cyclic polymers for these materials increases processability due to a lower viscosity and higher thermal stability compared to their linear counterparts. My research will focus on the production of cyclic bottlebrush polymers via ring expansion metathesis polymerization using a cyclic benzylidene ruthenium initiator designed in our lab. I will investigate the self-assembly of cyclic block bottlebrush structures using a variety of characterization techniques, including AFM and SAXS. Developing new methodology to undergo the controlled synthesis of cyclic bottlebrush polymers for soft mesoporous materials could significantly advance the field of energy storage.
Advisor: Matthew Golder – Chemistry