Versatile Smart Polymer Capable of Thermally Triggered Depolymerization

Principal Investigator: Andrew Boydston

Stimuli-responsive polymers that can undergo controlled depolymerization are of great potential utility in areas ranging from smart sensors to drug-delivery applications. The trigger needs to be specific to the stimuli and result in complete depolymerization. The development of thermally induced degradation of a polymer can fulfill these criteria by maintaining a specific thermal activation temperature, and result in head-to-tail depolymerization to ensure degradation into its monomer units.

This invention falls into the category of self-immolative polymers (SIP), a new class of smart polymers that are a stimuli-responsive material that can be thermally triggered to undergo depolymerization. Upon heating above the threshold temperature, the monomer unit at the terminus of the polymer is liberated, resulting in the eventual complete fragmentation of the polymer. The polymers are based on carbamoylnitroso species that can have tunable trigger thresholds.

Sensory materials: The polymer can incorporate a reporter molecule and detect heat related changes, as the trigger event amplifies the signal by releasing the reporter or detection. Drug delivery platform: replacing the reporter molecule with drug of interest can result in a controlled release of the drug under biological temperature conditions Lithographic mask: the polymer can act analogous to the photoresist in photolithography applications, and be removed upon heating Specific to thermal triggers, and immune to accidental activation by other stimuli Complete degradation of the polymer due to head-to-tail depolymerization.


For more info, contact: Ryan Buckmaster

  • swap_vertical_circlelibrary_booksReferences (1)
    1. Gregory I. Peterson, Michael B. Larsen, Andrew J. Boydston (2012), Controlled Depolymerization: Stimuli-Responsive Self-Immolative Polymers, Macromolecules, 7317 - 7328
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