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Polymer Chemistry Research Group


Nanostructured Amphiphilic Conetworks


Amphiphilic conetworks (APCNs) are macromolecular superstructures where the composing hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymer chains are connected to each other with covalent bonds.

Driven by their thermodynamic incompatibility, yet hindered by the nature of their chemical bonding the two polymers try to segregate and in the end form a special nanostructure which differs significantly from the morphology of conventional multicomponent polymeric systems.


Amphiphilic gel  

Our research group has so far synthesised and investigated the properties of such conetworks built of polyisobutylene, polydimethylsiloxane or poly(tetrahydrofurane) as hydrophobic component, and poly(methacrylic acid), poly(N,N-dimethyl acrylamide), poly(N,N-diethyl acrylamide), poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide), poly(2-(dimethylamino) ethyl methacrylate), poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), poly(N-vinyl imidazole) or poly(ethylene oxide) as hydrophilic components.

APCN gel

Investigations are in progress to determine the role and effect of synthetic parameters, while structural studies involving swelling experiments and numerous instrumental assays (e.g. DSC, Solid-state NMR, SAXS, AFM etc) are being carried out to reveal the special (and often unprecedented) properties of these novel materials.

Some of these properties include smart responsive behaviour to change in environmental parameters such pH or temperature, the distribution of inorganic materials in the polymer matrix, controlled drug release and well-controllable protein and cell adhesion among others.

AFM image of APCN

Nanophase-separated structure of an APCN, 500x500 nanometers, AFM


Béla IvánSzabolcs PásztorTímea StumphauserÁkos Szabó