New Research


Regulation of stereostructures of polymers

Professor Tatsuki Kitayama, Assistant Professor Takafumi Nishiura, Takehiro Kitaura, Yasuhiro Kohsak

   The late 20th century has been the “age of plastics”, as you see them everywhere in everyday life. Polymers or macromolecules are the compounds that constitute plastics, rubbers, textiles and so on, which are normally produced from “monomers” through chemical reactions called “polymerizations”. Starting from a single type of monomer, a variety of polymer structures can be formed by selecting a proper initiator or a catalyst. One of the aims of our research group is to control the polymer structures as precise as possible through well-controlled polymerization reactions.

   Polymerization of two kinds of monomers, called as copolymerization, gave polymers containing each monomer units in a polymer chain, that is copolymers. Block copolymers are the one category of copolymers composed of blocks of each monomer units in linear sequence, which are normally prepared by complicated multi-step procedure. By using a novel single-step procedure, we have succeeded in synthesing block copolymers with well-defined architecture. The block copolymers often exhibits specific physical properties compared to that of conventional copolymers, such as phase separation behavior or mechanical properties. The single-step polymerization method can also be applied to synthesis of star polymers, in which a number of linear polymer chains emanate from a core.

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