Analysis of Polymers Through Direct Detect Spectroscopy
Analysis of polymer composition, structure, and functionality is key for the development of the next generation (bio)materials. Although characterization of polymer functionality and structure can be achieved using existing techniques, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), the development of new rapid and simple methods are desirable for high throughput applications. In this project, polymers comprised of various functional monomers were synthesized by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT) and characterized using standard analytical techniques such as NMR and size exclusion chromatography. The monomers used were N,N-dimethylacrylamide, oligo(ethylene glycol)methyl ether acrylate, and N-isopropylacrylamide. We then applied a novel infrared based tool to characterize the library of polymers. The DirectDetect Spectrometer allows for quantitative analysis of amide bonds in solution and could therefore be used to determine polymer concentration. The DirectDetect Spectrometer is very beneficial and a useful instrument in the field of protein chemistry, and this project shows that with appropriate calibration, rapid screenings of synthetic polymers are allowed. This technique is expected to be useful for high throughput formations of synthetic polymers, and analysis of unknown polymer solutions.
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