Korean Scientists Have Created the Notorious Plumber’s Nightmare Structure

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Researchers at POSTECH have actually effectively produced the complex “plumber’s nightmare” structure in block copolymers, a cutting-edge accomplishment that leads the way for brand-new applications in nano-technology and product science. This discovery shows the capacity for crafting varied polymer nanostructures with customized residential or commercial properties. (Artist’s idea). Credit: SciTechDaily

Plumber’s headache structure emerges as an assemblage where all exits appear to assemble inward– a plumbing technician’s headache however an awaited individuality for scientists, recommending distinct qualities divergent from standard products. Nonetheless, this elaborate setup was considered unattainable, verging on the world of the difficult.

Recently, a research study group at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) discovered ideas from overlooked small ends, changing this dream into truth. The distinguished global journal Science not just released this research study however likewise highlighted it as a short article, triggering substantial interest within scholastic circles.

Breakthrough in Nanostructure Research

Professor Moon Jeong Park and PhD prospect Hojun Lee from POSTECH’s Department of Chemistry brought to life nanostructures of block copolymers (hereafter BCPs), which were formerly just pictured. This research study was just recently released in the journal Science

BCPs represent polymers built by connecting blocks of one monomer with blocks of another. Capable of self-assembly, BCP’s craft varied < period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>nanoscale</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>The nanoscale refers to a length scale that is extremely small, typically on the order of nanometers (nm), which is one billionth of a meter. At this scale, materials and systems exhibit unique properties and behaviors that are different from those observed at larger length scales. The prefix &quot;nano-&quot; is derived from the Greek word &quot;nanos,&quot; which means &quot;dwarf&quot; or &quot;very small.&quot; Nanoscale phenomena are relevant to many fields, including materials science, chemistry, biology, and physics.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" tabindex ="0" function =(********************************************* )> nanoscale structures, discovering prevalent applications throughout fields covering semiconductor and medication.Recent research studies have actually been strongly checking out contrasts in optical and mechanical residential or commercial properties based upon BCP structure.However, as structures grow more elaborate, their thermodynamic stability lessens, presenting substantial obstacles in their production.

Visualization of Nanostructures Realized Using Di End Functionalized BCPs

Visualization of nanostructures understood utilizing di-end-functionalized BCPs. Credit: POSTECH

The Plumber’s Nightmare Realized

Among these structures, the plumbing’s headache, displaying median packaging of polymer chain ends, stands as an exceptionally intricate and distinct development. While real-life circumstances of its symptom were missing, it was assumed to have special optical and mechanical qualities due to its distinct channel structure, setting it apart from other nanostructures.

In this groundbreaking research study, the group defied expectations by turning the difficult into possible. While most research study has actually concentrated on the primary polymer chains making up BCPs, the scientists move their focus to the unnoticeable, less than one percent, chain ends. They crafted di-end-functionalized BCPs by connecting various particles to each end of the polymer chain. Consequently, the polymer chain ends displayed robust shared tourist attraction, triggering all the polymer tails to coalesce inward, marking the group’s effective awareness of the plumbing’s headache structure, a world’s very first accomplishment.

Expanding the Realm of BCP Structures

Furthermore, the group effectively produced a variety of BCP structures that had actually hitherto stayed enigmatic, consisting of gyroid and diamond structures. This achievement in emerging BCP structures formerly restricted to the worlds of creativity and theory stands as a substantial accomplishment.

Of specific note, this research study’s significance depends on the conclusion that intricate structures can be stably understood when powerful forces exist at the ends, in spite of varied changes made in BCP polymer structure and the primary chain’s chemical residential or commercial properties. This recommends the universal applicability and versatility of this research study for future research studies concentrated on establishing varied composite-structure polymer nanostructures.

Professor Alisyn J. Nedoma from the University of Sheffield, a specialist in the BCP field, mentioned in the Science commentary, “It lays the groundwork for designing novel BCP nanostructures,” evaluating the prospective cost-effectiveness in developing nanostructures with wanted attributes.

The research study’s lead, Professor Moon Jeong Park discussed, “This research has enabled us to establish a method for developing tailored network structures in polymer BCP. It will serve as a platform for crafting polymer BCPs with diverse properties in nano-technology applications.”

Reference: “Thermodynamically stable plumber’s nightmare structures in block copolymers” by Hojun Lee, Sangwoo Kwon, Jaemin Min, Seon-Mi Jin, Jun Ho Hwang, Eunji Lee, Won Bo Lee and Moon Jeong Park, 4 January 2024, Science
DOI: 10.1126/ science.adh0483

This work was carried out with assistance from the following programs under the National Research Foundation of Korea: Mid-Career Researcher Program, Creative Materials Discovery Program, and Science Research Center Program.