Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry

Main research directions

Macromolecular science is highly interdisciplinary. The best results are typically achieved by combination of approaches from different scientific fields and by using various complementary experimental methods. The Institute benefits from synergy of wide range of complementary expertise with experimental or theoretical methods all gathered under one roof. With approximately 120 scientists (including 40 post-doctoral researchers) and 40 PhD students, specialising in subjects ranging from synthetic chemistry, through physical chemistry of macromolecular systems to polymer physics and material processing on one hand and biochemistry and biology on the other.

Biomacromolecular systems

  • Polymeric drug carriers. Study of regularities and relations of the structure, physicochemical and biological properties of molecular and supramolecular systems, conjugates consisting of synthetic and natural macromolecules and possibly of other biologically active molecules, with the aim to verify the feasibility of preparation of systems with targeted and predetermined properties.
  • Polymeric layered systems for contact with biological media. Preparation of artificial functional objects by successive assembling biological and synthetic macromolecules, based on controlled utilization of intermolecular interactions so that they can be used, depending on the predesigned composition, as affinity layers in biosensors and separation media or as coatings of artificial surfaces compatible with blood and coatings stimulating cell and tissue growth.
  • Bioanalogous polymers. Synthesis of new polymers and semisynthetic hybrid macromolecular structures containing motifs of biologically active biopolymers or their structure analogs and study of their role in formation of specific interactions of polymer matrix with biomacromolecules, cells and tissues.
  • Polymeric hybrid systems. Preparation of new multifunctional micro- and nanoparticle and membrane carriers for enzymatic and other catalysis, affinity and pseudoaffinity chromatography, separation of organic and inorganic substances and for removal of toxic inorganic ions from aqueous and nonaqueous media.
  • Hydrogels. Preparation and study of properties of new hydrogel systems with appropriate surface properties for biomedicinal applications depending on polymer - living tissue interactions.

Dynamics and self-assembling of molecular and supramolecular polymer structures

  • Self-assembling and nanostructural ordering of macromolecules. Search for possibilities of controlling self-assembling molecules in supramolecular systems by variation of external parameters, such as temperature, pH or ionic strength, and use of controlled self-assembling in the solid state, mesophase, solution and on surface for improvement or formation of utility properties of polymers, which are used in biomolecular engineering, drug transport, microelectronics, sensors and membranes.
  • Dynamics and molecular characterization of macromolecules. Study of dynamics of polymers in solution by light scattering, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and gradient-field NMR. Study of processes of macroscopic diffusion of polymers and molecules differing in nature and size, including biologically important molecules, in polymer gels and polymer solutions. Examination of possibilities of extending the use of chromatographic and MALDI methods in analysis of synthesis products, especially of functionalized polymers and block copolymers.

Preparation, characterization and use of new polymeric systems with controlled structure and properties

  • Polymerization processes. Application of controlled radical polymerization (ATRP) to modification of natural polymers (cellulose), both in heterogeneous and homogeneous media, and use of controlled radical polymerization with participation of stable nitroxyl radicals in synthesis of functionalized copolymer precursors and related block copolymers, which can be utilized as components of supramolecular polymeric systems, membrane materials or compatibilizers.
  • Polymer networks. Investigation of future development of new types of organic-inorganic structures, networks from precursors with original molecular architecture, liquid-crystalline networks and smart gels. Preparation of two-component interpenetrating networks of hydrophilic polymers and supramolecular structures containing liquid-crystalline and amorphous regions. Verification of a new method of preparation of polymeric membranes with better properties and functions, lower price and promising applications in hydrogen and methanol fuel cells, gas separation and ultrafiltration.
  • Optoelectronic phenomena. Study of optical, photophysical, electric and optoelectronic properties of polymers with the aim to gain findings on mechanisms of the phenomena and to find new phenomena utilizable in applications. Experimental and theoretical study of electronic phenomena in polymers, in particular electric conductivity, photoconductivity, generation and transport of charge carriers, electroluminescence, photochromism, transistor phenomenon and effects of space charge, with strong emphasis on molecular character of processes.
  • Materials research. Control and modification of structure of polymer blends in the course of their preparation and processing, dispersing of nanoparticles in polymer matrix and control of mechanical and processing properties of nanocomposites, control of the course of crystallization and crosslinking of semicrystalline polymers and their blends, possibilities of influencing structure changes in polymer materials by environment and stabilization. In the field of chemistry of solid materials, orientation on study of preparation and physicochemical properties of a specific group of materials with pronouncedly dual nature of cohesion forces.