Foundry staff and users developed a method using topochemical polymerization (TCP) to make ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) crystalline polymers that are solution processible and readily functionalizable.
Significance and Impact
The new method overcomes several synthetic and characterization challenges that had made TCP reactions less desirable. Now UHMW polymers can be made with desirable dielectric properties and controllable functionality. The new method offers great promise for energy storage applications and also provides polymer chemists with a new tool for designing polymer functionality.
- The researchers focused their work on a family of para-azaquinodimethanes (AQMs) whose reactive functional groups survive the TCP polymerization process.
- Starting from four monomers, they produced and studied the structural and electrochemical properties of the resulting polymers. The polymerization process was a simple visible light and thermally initiated process that occurred in the solid state, allowing for the first determination of a synthetic polymer crystal structure using microcrystal electron diffraction.
- The team identified one polymer in particular that is soluble and functionalizable, highly stable under high-voltage conditions, and also has a high charge-discharge efficiency.