Sulfenyl Chloride Electrophilic Addition to Olefinic Monomers: A New Step-Growth Polymerization Reaction to Prepare Optical Polymers Active
$550.0K funding
2 People
With the support of the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program in the Division of Chemistry, Professor Jeffrey Pyun and Professor Robert Norwood from the University of Arizona will develop novel approaches to the chemical synthesis of optical polymers. Synthetic polymers, the main constituent of plastics, are ubiquitous in our everyday life. Through the design and synthetic control of the chemical structures of polymers, polymer properties can be tailored for use in a wide range of applications. This research project focuses on the investigation of chemical processes that will enable controlled polymerization of sulfide units into polymeric materials, which has significant potential to afford high refractive index, highly transparent optical plastics for use in consumer eye-ware, stretchable optical fiber and electro-optic devices. Currently, the industrial production of plastic optical lenses requires the use of high-cost sulfur-containing monomers. The Pyun and Norwood team aims to address this limitation by developing novel synthetic approaches that employ low-cost monomers as an alternative feedstock for high-volume manufacturing of next generation optical polymers. Graduate and undergraduate students, including women and underrepresented minorities, will receive interdisciplinary research training on synthetic polymer chemistry, polymer processing, optical physics, materials characterization, and device integration. In addition, Prof. Pyun and Prof. Norwood will expand a remote-research learning program to engage non-Chemistry and non-Optical Science majors in independent research activities. Specifically, the research team will develop a new step-growth polymerization process based on the electrophilic addition of sulfenyl chlorides to olefinic monomers. The synthesis of polyhalodisulfide materials and halogen free polydisulfides will be explored. The new science of the project will focus on the fundamental polymerization chemistry required to afford homopolymers, segmented block copolymers, thermoplastics and thermosets. Monomer reactivity will be studied to determine polymerization mechanisms and kinetics. The structural factors that influence the optical properties as well as the chemical and thermal stabilities of the polymers will be examined. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Research Opportunities
Photo of J Pyun(jpyun)
J Pyun
Chemistry & Biochemistry - Sci
Photo of R Norwood(ran1)
R Norwood
James C Wyant Coll Optical Sci