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Our current activities are focused on a single one format of porous polymer materials
that can be used in a wide variety of applications such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), capillary electrochromatography (CEC), building blocs for lab-on-the-chip, solid-phase extraction, carriers for immobilization of synthetic and natural catalysts, supports for solid-phase organic chemistry, scavengers, and reagents.
Our group is the leader in the development of novel polymer-based separation media. We are interested in the development of novel separation media as well as new techniques for the separation of a broad array of molecules of all sizes. Our work is focused both on the chemistry of the separation media and on their properties. We control surface chemistry, surface area, porosity, pore size and pore size distribution, etc. We seek to gain a fundamental understanding of the variables that control porosity and other variables involved in both flow and the separation process itself. We then apply this knowledge to optimize separation properties. Surface chemistry is controlled not only during initial polymerization but also in subsequent chemical modification steps. These may involve classical organic reactions (for example for the introduction of chiral ligands) or the surface-directed growth of active layers by grafting processes involving techniques such as dendrimer grafting or "living" radical polymerization.
Novel Techniques for the Fast Analysis of Macromolecules:
We have developed techniques for the fast characterization of polymers. For example, our monoliths may be used in precipitation-redissolution chromatography to measure the relative molecular weight of polymers in seconds. This is in deep contrast to the technique of size exclusion chromatography for which run times usually exceed 30 minutes. As a result, our polymer monoliths are uniquely suited to the rapid characterization of combinatorial libraries of polymers. We have also developed techniques for the analysis of functional polymers: our separation media and separation techniques may be use to differentiate polymers in which as few as one repeat unit in a thousand is structurally different.
We have recently developed monolithic media for use in microchip-based separations. In such systems, the polymers fulfill not only the role of separation medium but may also be used to contribute to the generation of flow, the preparation of valves, frits, filters, etc.