Hybrid Material Flexes Its Muscles

December
2015

A new material developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that combines the flexibility of a polymer with the rigidity of a metal has implications for a range of applications, from drug delivery to gas storage and water filtration.

Known as a polyMOC, the gel-like material is a hybrid of polymeric chains and metal organic cages (MOCs). MOCs are crystalline, generally rigid, cage-like structures consisting of metal-ligand centers linked together by organic molecules. Most polymers, on the other hand, are typically flexible. PolyMOCs combine the well-defined, self-assembled structure of the MOC with the viscoelastic properties of the polymer.

Jeremiah Johnson, the Roger and Georges Firmenich Assistant Professor of natural product chemistry at MIT, and his team first fabricated MOCs of palladium ions and bispyridine-terminated polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains. The polymer chain contains two pyridine groups, each of which can bind to a palladium ion (Pd2+), and each Pd2+ ion can bond with two polymer...

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