School Seminar: Professor Tanja Junkers; Monash University – School of Chemistry School Seminar: Professor Tanja Junkers; Monash University – School of Chemistry

School Seminar: Professor Tanja Junkers; Monash University

Wednesday, 3 November 11:00am – 12:00pm

This seminar will be delivered via Zoom – Please email for zoom link and password.

Speaker: Professor Tanja Junkers1; Monash University

Host: Dr Derrick Roberts

Title: It’s a Machines World: Challenges and Opportunities in Automated Polymer Synthesis

Abstract: Contemporary macromolecular chemistry has matured to a point where virtually any polymer structure can be synthesized via combinations of controlled polymerization approaches, post-polymerization modification and efficient ligation strategies. Still, often large hurdles have to be overcome to take the next step in research, that is being able to provide such complex materials reliably on significant scale for use in advanced applications. A solution to this problem is to make use of continuous flow synthesis techniques. Flow reactors are associated with high reproducibility, intrinsically simple reaction scale-up and improved product qualities due to significant reduction of side reactions. Being an established method especially in the pharmaceutical chemistry domain, full potential with regards to macromolecular synthesis did not unfold until very recently. Among others, the benefits of using online-monitoring, reactor automation and machine-learning will be discussed and the development of fully autonomous based reactor systems presented.

The potential of flow chemistry for preparative macromolecular chemistry will be discussed and explored on the example of polymerization. Further, the possibility to build reactor cascades and the advantages of online-monitoring will be highlighted. Machine-assisted synthesis of polymers is shown to be superior in accuracy in synthesis. This opens a new realm in polymer chemistry to synthesize libraries of materials, as well as to control the dispersity and distribution shape of polymers. Dispersity has been largely neglected in research in the past decades, and only recently became the focus of attention, since its beneficial influence on self-assembly had been recognized. Also polymer self-assembly itself can largely benefit from flow operation, and first advances in this area will be presented.

1 N. Zaquen, M. Rubens, N. Corrigan, J. Xu, P.B. Zetterlund, C. Boyer, T. Junkers, Prog. Polym. Sci. 2020, accepted.

2  J. De Neve, J.J. Haven, S. Harrisson, T. Junkers, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, DOI: 10.1002/ange.201906842.

M. Rubens, T. Junkers, Polym. Chem. 2019, DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01013K.

M. Rubens, J.H. Vrijsen, J. Laun, T. Junkers, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 3183-3187

1 Polymer Reaction Design group, School of Chemistry, Monash University, 19 Rainforest Walk, Clayton VIC 3800, Australia

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