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CB[n]-polymer chemistry

We have developed a range of soft biomaterials whose mechanical properties can be tuned to mechanically match a range of different tissues and biological environments. Creating materials mediated by supramolecular host-guest interactions allows them to mimic the dynamic nature of biological tissues and enables them to adapt to changing environments or stimuli. These materials can be engineered to respond to specific cues, such as temperature, pH, or light, to trigger controlled release of drugs or growth factors for targeted therapies. We have also used these materials to create wearable sensors or actuators that can conform to the body, monitor physiological signals, and provide personalised healthcare solutions.



High-performance materials are materials that have superior mechanical, thermal, electrical, or optical properties compared to traditional materials. These materials are designed to perform well in demanding applications where high strength, stiffness, toughness, temperature resistance, and/or conductivity are required. By developing new and improved high-performance materials, we aim to enhance the performance of existing materials and to create new materials that can perform in demanding applications and environments.



Polymer and network dynamics

We are interested in understanding the fundamental principles governing polymer behavior within dynamic polymer networks at different length scales and timescales . To date we have used a variety of techniques to gain insight into these properties however, no technique allows for probing of the network dynamics within these networks in real-time. To address this we have recently built a bespoke experimental network "CAM-RIG" funded by an ERC Consolidor Grant. CAM-RIG enables us to gain insight into the mechanical properties, chain dynamics, and segmental motions of polymer networks in real time. These studies shed light on phenomena like viscoelasticity, relaxation processes, and the influence of external stimuli on the network structure. We aim to leverage this knowledge to tailor the properties of polymer materials towards specific applications.



By employing CB[n]s as monomers or crosslinkers, we have developed dynamic, stimuli-responsive supramolecular polymers with controlled architectures and stimuli-responsive behaviour. The kinetics of the CB[n] host-guest interactions can be finely tuned through varying the chemical strucutre of the guest/s, allowing for the design of polymers with tailored properties such as mechanical strength. These supramolecular polymers have found applications in various fields, including drug delivery, energy conversion and sensing. 



Responsive polymer networks are materials that undergo reversible changes in their physical properties in response to external stimuli, such as temperature, pH, light, or electric fields. We are interested in investigating the design, synthesis, and characterisation of responsive polymer networks and hydrogels to understand their behavior and harness their responsiveness for specific applications. These responsive materials hold great promise across a myriad of fields including energy storage, drug delivery systems, and as biosensors. 

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Double network hydrogels

Double network hydrogels consist of two distinct interconnected polymer networks that offer a unique combination of the properties of each network. Typically polymer networks that combine two disperate properties such as strength and flexibility. The first network, typically made of a rigid, cross-linked polymer, provides structural integrity and toughness. The second network is commonly composed of a more flexible network. The result material combines the properties of both networks. They have applications in biomedicine as well as acting as high performance materials. 

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