We enjoy designing complex colloidal particles
We have an in-depth knowledge of heterogeneous polymerization techniques, such as emulsion and mini-emulsion polymerizations, to develop a plethora of complex polymer-based colloids.
We love emulsion polymerization
Our most noticeable contributions to the field include the first reversible-deactivation nitroxide-mediated radical emulsion polymerization (Macromolecules 1997: DOI 10.1021/ma961003s), and the development and mechanistic understanding of Pickering mini-emulsion (Macromolecules 2005: DOI 10.1021/ma051070z) and emulsion polymerization processes (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008: DOI 10.1021/ja807242k).
check out our latest on pickering emulsion polymerization by clicking on the image below
We are back in the field of reversible deactivation radical emulsion polymerization
In 1995/1996 the people at CSIRO (Australia) reported on using methacrylate-based macromonomers as RAFT agents. Under starved-fed emulsion polymerization conditions this sulfur-free RAFT technique shows control of propagation of methacrylate monomers allowing for the synthesis of blockcopolymers, often with a narrow molar mass distribution.
We developed this pioneering work further and showed in 2017 that polymerization induced self-assembly (PISA) in water is possible using these RAFT agents. Click on the picture below to find out more.
One quest in emulsion polymerization technology that remains challenging and intriguing is control of the particle morphology. It is of importance as the architecture of the polymer colloid influences its behavioural properties when used in applications. We report in ACS Nano in 2019 an elegant innovation in the emulsion polymerization process which makes use of nanogels as stabilizers and allows us to fabricate Janus and patchy polymer colloids. Click on the image below to find out more.
Moving away from “Plastics”
We currently have launched collaborative programs with industry to look at alternative approaches to fabricate latexes and microparticles/capsules NOT using traditional radical polymerization methodologies.
Beside this, we recently have expanded our particle synthesis and characterization portfolio to inorganic colloids, such as silicates, metal oxides and calcium carbonate.