Highlighting ACS eBooks: “Sequence-Controlled Polymers: Synthesis, Self-Assembly, and Properties”

Peer-reviewed eBooks of the ACS contain essential research by the world’s leading scientists spanning all disciplines and applications. In Highlighting ACS eBooks, a new series from ACS Axial, reviewers expand upon original reviews that recommended eBooks for publication. This review covers “Sequence-Controlled Polymers: Synthesis, Self-Assembly and Properties”, an ACS eBook edited by Jean-Francois Lutz, Tara Meyer, Mokoto Ouchi, and Mitsuo Sawamato. For more information on ACS eBooks, and list of titles, please visit our website.

Sequence-Controlled Polymers: Synthesis, Self-Assembly and Properties

Taking biologically and nature-inspired systems towards chemical synthetic equivalent in macromolecular science is always a great challenge. Inspired by polypeptides and polynucleotide  – the building blocks for replicated structure-function and information storage respectively in living matter, recent work by chemists have achieved closer parity to nature. This has been achieved by a combination of knowledge in new monomer or telomer design, sequence control, high yield complementary reactivity, self-assembly, and innovative characterization. The editors and authors of this book have compiled recent advances in this field in a well-organized list of chapters. The book is useful for both novice and experts.

The introduction starts by highlighting the importance of monomer sequence control in building up structure-property relationships in macromolecules. This is beyond structural biology, which is limited by modularity in natural amino acids, nucleobases, as well as saccharide units and the function of the cell and enzymes. The authors outline the history, the important players, previous attempts and milestones in the synthesis and characterization of ordered co-monomer systems. Important developments along the way based on solid-phase synthesis, NMR characterization, living free-radical polymerization, and sequence – topology control have been demonstrated. The chapters are divided to: Biological and bioinspired polymers, sequence regulation methods, and structure-property function correlation categories. Bioinspired materials includes polymer-peptide conjugates, advances in solid-phase synthesis and separation. Sequence regulation reports on time or structure-sequence periodic insertion and high yielding or complete reactivity. High yielding living free-radical polymerization, metathesis reactions, and good directional or anisotropic monomer (oligomer design) makes it possible. Lastly, properties and function reports on step towards practical relevance of the concepts and gives focus on the physical properties of the resulting polymers.

What is made interesting by this books is that the programmable and modular approach in polymer science is highly evident – a major break through in chemical fidelity that can also be predicted by simulation. Although, previous work has dealt mostly with synthetic equivalents of nucleobases and peptides, the reported recent advances have shown that it can also be demonstrated in vinylic, acrylate and other well-known and common commercially available monomers. There is complementarity with what has been done with telechelic chemistry, block and graft copolymer sequences, and supramolecular assembly.

To gain more relevance, a translational development approach to new properties or improvements over existing commercial polymer materials must be done. For commercialization, cost can be an issue but performance through enhanced properties can be an important solution to many applications. This book can be considered an important volume and compilation of the state-of-the-art in the field and should be of high interest to the polymer community involved in basic research and translational development work. For more information on ACS eBooks, and list of titles, please visit our website.

Review by:

Rigoberto Advincula

Case Western Reserve University

Macromolecular Science and Engineering