NWO Chemical Sciences has awarded TU/e professors Bert Meijer and Dick Broer a TOP-PUNT grant. Broer, Meijer and co-researcher Anja Palmans will receive 2 million euros funding for their research proposal Polymers in Motion. Some nine additional PhD-students and postdocs will be recruited to work on this research for six years.
The amplification of collective molecular motions from the nanoscopic to the macroscopic scale is probably one of the most intriguing challenges in materials science and remains to be fully discovered in the decades to come. Two approaches can be distinguished: artificial molecular machines and stimuli-responsive materials.
In their Polymers in Motion research project, the team is aiming at closing the gap between both approaches making use of their knowledge in liquid-crystalline polymer networks, the hierarchical self-assembly of supramolecular polymers and adaptive materials. Three subprograms are defined; two of them are focusing on motion in polymer materials upon applying an external stimulus, the third part will address their dream to arrive at self-oscillating materials that hold promise for intriguing applications in energy harvesting and micro robotics.