Polyoxometalate-Containing Diblock Copolymers

Investigators: Zhonghua Peng, UMKC-Chemistry (PI); Yong Wang, UMKC-Dentistry (Co-PI)
One exciting development in recent years on polyoxometalates (POMs), a fascinating type of molecular anionic cluster with sizes in the nanometer region, is that new chemistry has finally allowed the rational and controlled incorporation of POM clusters into -conjugated systems. It is now conceivable to envision next-generation POM-containing hybrids which offer morphological control and possess ordered micro- (and/or nano-) domain structures. This project aims at preparing unprecedented hybrid diblock copolymers with one flexible block containing POM clusters as pendants and the other block an -conjugated polymer. The fundamental question to be carefully addressed is how attached "giant" ionic clusters affect the self-assembly process and what new morphologies may result. Such hybrid diblock copolymers are potentially new efficient photovoltaic materials. In addition to achieving efficient charge transport through diblock copolymer self-assembly, sub-phase liquid crystal order, including both nematic and discotic liquid crystalline phases, are judiciously designed to further improve charge transporting properties.