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Polymers

Faculty of the Institute bring world-class expertise in the areas of anionic, cationic, and radical polymerization to the translation of low molecular weight hydrocarbons into macromolecules, oligomers, and polymers. Research is actively pursued in the areas of organosilicon chemistry and the stereochemical and topological control of supramolecular structures.

The polymer/materials chemistry effort at the Institute primarily focuses on the development of polymeric materials with novel electronic structures and new molecular architectures. Such new materials are designed and prepared for the purpose of achieving new physical and chemical properties relevant to applications ranging from photochemical energy conversion to high speed information processing and biomedical applications. Two recent directions have proven particularly fruitful: the development of electroactive materials containing molecular segments with extended p-electron conjugation, and the development of materials with control of nanoscale (10-9 meter) molecular order.

Electroactive polymers exhibit interesting new electrical, optical, and magnetic properties. Recent examples include metallic-like conductivity and photo-conductivity, superconductivity, a wide range of new magnetic phenomena, and both linear and non-linear optical phenomena. New light emitting diodes, solid-state organic lasers, and electro-optic devices are but a few of the exciting optical applications that are being developed using electroactive polymeric materials. Polymeric electro-optic modulators have permitted realization of information processing bandwidths (data handling rates) of greater than 100 GHz. This has been accomplished with electrical control voltages on the order of one volt and in sophisticated integrated devices consisting of organic modulators, VLSI semiconductor electronics, and silica fi ber optic transmission lines. Applications of polymeric electro- optic modulators extend from the cable television industry, to the video displays industry, biomedical sensing, and radar technology.

(c) 2014 Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences