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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/T11555/01
Title: Polymer electrolyte brushes as nanoactuators
Principal Investigator: Huck, Professor W
Other Investigators:
Ryan, Professor AJ Jones, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 06 September 2004 Ends: 05 February 2008 Value (£): 187,779
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
GR/T11562/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Biology can convert chemical energy directly into mechanical energy by coupling the hydrolysis of ATP to conformational changes in proteins. Artificial nanoscale devices such as NEMS will also need a way of generating mechanical energy, but using biological motors directly in synthetic systems may not always be possible as they only function within narrow environmental limits. In this proposal we aim to use synthetic, charged polymers that are grafted to surfaces to couple changes in chemical environment with physical changes in surface topography and mechanical actuation. Charged polymer brushes have been studied intensively because of their interesting physical properties and their response to changes in pH, temperature and salt concentration. However, synthetic routes to well-defined and fully controlled polyelectrolyte brushes have not been developed. This proposal aims to further our understanding of polyelectrolyte brushes to such an extent that it will be possible to control movement at the nanometer level via responsive polymers. Some prototype devices will include deflecting silicon cantilevers and opening and closing nanopores. This multidisciplinary project will combine synthetic polymer chemistry, surface chemistry, characterization using neutron scattering, ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy, as well as lithogrpahic techniques to pattern surfaces at the micro and nanoscale level.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk