Department Seminar

Engineering (Bio)Interfaces using Controlled Radical Polymerization

Speaker Details:

Harm-Anton Klok

Polymers Laboratory, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Lecture Details:

March 19, 2015
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room


Thin polymer coatings are of great importance to control the interactions of synthetic materials with other materials (lubrication, wear), the environment (corrosion) as well as biology (marine antifouling). Modern polymer science offers unprecedented opportunities to chemically engineer the properties of surfaces and interfaces. This presentation will discuss three aspects. The first part of the presentation will introduce modern controlled/”living” radical polymerization techniques and “polymer brushes” (chain-end tethered monomolecular assemblies of densely grafted polymer chains) and present the scope and possibilities of these approaches to chemically modify surfaces and interfaces. The second part of the presentation will address the need for accurate surface chemical characterization and the challenges related to the precise determination of the localization and distribution of functional groups in thin polymer films. The presentation will end with several brief showcases that illustrate the use of modern polymer science tools to develop ultrathin polymer films that possess sensory properties, which can be used to control fluid flow, to template the controlled growth of metallic or non-metallic inorganic films on complex, 3D structured substrates as well as to guide and control cell adhesion.

Speaker Bio:

Harm-Anton Klok is Full Professor at the Institutes of Materials and Chemical Sciences and Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (Lausanne, Switzerland). He studied chemical technology at the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands) and received his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Ulm (Germany) after working with Martin Möller. After postdoctoral research with David N. Reinhoudt (University of Twente) and Samuel I. Stupp (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, USA), he joined the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (Mainz, Germany) in early 1999 as a project leader in the group of Klaus Müllen. In November 2002, he was appointed to the faculty of EPFL. Since 2012 he is Director of the Institute of Materials (~ Department Head) and also directs the Molecular and Hybrid Materials Characterization Center at EPFL. His research interests include polymer nanomedicine as well as polymer surface and interface science. Harm-Anton Klok is recipient of the Arthur K. Doolittle Award of the American Chemical Society (2007), Associate Editor of the American Chemical Society journal Biomacromolecules and serves on the editorial advisory board of Eur. Polym. J., J. Polym. Sci. A: Polym. Chem., Macromolecules, ACS Macro Letters as well as Macromol. Rapid Commun. and Macromol. Bioscience. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Bordeaux (France) and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst (USA), is a Chair Professor at the College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Soochow University (Suzhou, China), guest professor at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun (China), guest professor at the School of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai University, Shanghai (China) and has been awarded a Chinese Academy of Sciences visiting professorship for senior international scientists (Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing).