O'Reilly group, October 2016
Precision nanostructure and polymer engineering
Our research targets the design, synthesis and application of uniquely derived polymeric materials; where control over architecture, functionality and reactivity are central to their application in the field of nanotechnology. We are especially concerned with the synthesis of polymeric materials using both established chemistries and developing new synthetic polymerisation strategies. The supramolecular assembly of these polymers into precision nanostructures, such as organic/inorganic or hybrid nanoparticles is of interest given their ability to mimic biomolecules in size, structure and function and also possess novel properties, including the ability to behave as hosts or vessels in delivery agents. The subsequent assembly of these nanoparticles in one-, two- and three dimensions, and their chemical modification, can be applied to afford materials with potential applications as biological mimics, nanoreactors and nanotechnology devices.
The core of our research is in the area of polymer synthesis and involves the development of controlled radical polymerization chemistries (in particular reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer or RAFT techniques) for the synthesis of well-defined and functional macromolecules. My group are especially focused on the design and synthesis of materials that enable supramolecular assembly to form precision hybrid nanostructures with a specific focus on micellar structures, responsive materials and crystallization driven assembly. We also work at the biology-materials interface and have an interest in DNA templating chemistries, protein conjugation and sequence controlled materials.
Our overall research is highly interdisciplinary and is orientated towards bridging the interface between creative synthetic, polymer and catalysis chemistry, to allow for the development of materials that are of significant importance in medical, materials and nanoscience applications. This involves the application of controlled polymerisation chemistries for the synthesis of macromolecular structures and their functionalisation and application using materials chemistry.