Design and synthesis of L-proline containing polymer assemblies with tuneable catalytic activity
\ud The general concepts of the thesis are introduced in Chapter 1, including polymerization techniques employed to synthesize our catalytic nanoreactors and our motivations behind the work in this thesis.\ud \ud In Chapter 2 the catalytic activity of the amino acid L-proline after functionalization onto a polymer backbone was investigated. This was achieved using reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization yielding copolymers with predictable molecular weights and catalyst incorporation.\ud \ud Chapter 3 discusses the synthesis and self-assembly of block copolymers to yield polymer micelles with the catalytic motif contained within the hydrophobic micelle core. The application of polymer micelles as nanoreactors in water was assessed and the influence of core hydrophobicity on catalytic activity investigated. The effect of tethering the catalytic moiety to the micelle shell was also examined.\ud \ud In Chapter 4 the catalytic motif is incorporated into cross-linked nanogels and the property of the scaffold was investigated more in depth, such as the effect of crosslinking density and degree of functionalization on catalytic activity and selectivity. The hydrophobic nature of the nanogel and its importance in maintaining high selectivity was further examined.\ud \ud Chapter 5 reviews the possibility of using core-shell nanogels as recyclable nanoreactors. A thermo-responsive shell was introduced and the catalytic dependency of the core-shell nanostructures on temperature was investigated. The morphology of the shell was found to have a significant effect on the catalytic efficiency of the nanostructrues.
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