The world’s longest bottlebrush polymer ever synthesized

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Potential utility for the development of flexible, low-friction polymeric materials

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Credit: NIMS

NIMS and RIKEN have succeeded in synthesizing the longest ever bottlebrush polymer. This polymer–resembling a green foxtail–is composed of a main chain and numerous side chains grafting from it. The team also succeeded in giving various chemical properties to the ultralong bottlebrush polymer. These achievements are expected to substantially advance the current synthetic methods of bottlebrush polymers. This technique may be applicable to the development of flexible and low-friction polymeric materials.

In the development of polymeric materials, it is necessary to link molecular units with desired chemical properties, called monomers, to the desired length. In this context, bottlebrush polymers are attracting attention as a new type of polymer material, consisting of a single main chain and numerous side chains, and it is possible to design polymers with various chemical compositions by selecting the side chains. On the other hand, conventional synthetic methods are limited to lengths on the order of several hundred nanometers, or at most about 1 μm, due to issues such as monomer reactivity and the presence of trace impurities, and there is no precedent for the synthesis of bottlebrush polymers longer than 2 μm.

This research team recently succeeded in synthesizing the longest bottlebrush polymer ever by devising the molecular design of the monomer as starting material and using a single crystal of the monomer to set up a polymerization environment with very few impurities. The length reached 7 μm, which is about 3.8 times longer than the longest value so far. Furthermore, by combining two types of polymerization methods, the research team succeeded in synthesizing bottlebrush polymers with four types of side chains while maintaining the length of the main chain.

Use of the monomers developed in this research enables the synthesis of a variety of bottlebrush polymers with controlled length, diameter and chemical properties. Bottlebrush polymers may be used as a low-friction surface coating. Applying this polymer to the surfaces of moving machinery parts, for example, may reduce energy loss caused by friction. In future studies, we plan to develop flexible and low-friction materials taking advantage of the ultralong bottlebrush polymer.

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This project was carried out by a research team led by Yoshihiro Yamauchi (Independent Scientist, Research Center for Functional Materials, NIMS) and Yasuhiro Ishida (Team Leader, Center for Emergent Matter Science, RIKEN). This work was mainly supported by the JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (project numbers: 20H02454, 20H02791), the JST Strategic Basic Research Program CREST (project number: JPMJCR17N1), the Izumi Science and Technology Foundation (2018-J-115), the Iketani Science and Technology Foundation (0321143-A) and the Shorai Foundation for Science and Technology.

6. This research was published in the online version of Angewandte Chemie International Edition as a “Hot Paper” on November 30, 2020.

Contacts

(Regarding this research)

Yoshihiro Yamauchi

Independent Scientist

Molecular Mechatronics Group

Polymers and Biomaterials Field

Research Center for Functional Materials

National Institute for Materials Science

Tel: +81-29-859-2196

Email: YAMAUCHI.Yoshihiro=nims.go.jp

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Yasuhiro Ishida

Team Leader, Center for Emergent Matter Science

RIKEN

Tel: +81-48-462-1111 (6351)

Email: y-ishida=riken.jp

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URL: https://cems.riken.jp/jp/laboratory/ebsmrt

(General information)

Public Relations Office

National Institute for Materials Science

Tel: +81-29-859-2026

Fax: +81-29-859-2017

Email: pressrelease=ml.nims.go.jp

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Public Relations Office

RIKEN

Email: ex-press=riken.jp

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Media Contact
Yasufumi Nakamichi
[email protected]

Original Source

https://www.nims.go.jp/eng/news/press/2020/12/202012090.html

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.202009759

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