High-Throughput and Combinatorial Approaches for the Development of Multifunctional Polymers


High-throughput (HT) development of new multifunctional polymers is accomplished by the combination of different HT tools established in polymer sciences in the last decade. Important advances are robotic/HT synthesis of polymer libraries, the HT characterization of polymers, and the application of spatially resolved polymer library formats, explicitly microarray and gradient libraries. HT polymer synthesis enables the generation of material libraries with combinatorial design motifs. Polymer composition, molecular weight, macromolecular architecture, etc. may be varied in a systematic, fine-graded manner to obtain libraries with high chemical diversity and sufficient compositional resolution as model systems for the screening of these materials for the functions aimed. HT characterization allows a fast assessment of complementary properties, which are employed to decipher quantitative structure–properties relationships. Moreover, these methods facilitate the HT determination of important surface parameters by spatially resolved characterization methods, including time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Here current methods for the high-throughput robotic synthesis of multifunctional polymers as well as their characterization are presented and advantages as well as present limitations are discussed.
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