Dr Rachel PlatelLecturer
I am interested in controlling monomer sequence in copolymerizations to prepare perfectly alternating copolymers. In particular, biocompatible and biodegradable polyesters such as polylactide and polycaprolactone are currently of great interest, largely due to their biomedical applications. However, controlling the rate of polymer degradation can be difficult. Combining two monomers with different physical properties allows the properties of the resulting polymer to be tuned. One of the simplest ways to control the sequence of monomers in a polymer would be through design of the metal initiator.
My research involves both the design of new group 3 and lanthanide complexes and their use as initiators in ring-opening polymerization reactions with combinations of a variety of cyclic ester monomers, with the aim of preparing alternating copolymers. I am also interested in determining the physical properties of the resulting materials and exploring possible applications. My research is interdisciplinary, encompassing inorganic, coordination, polymer and materials chemistry.