Controlled Radical Polymerizations

Controlled radical Polymerizations are the tool of choice to build advanced functional materials for all technological applications (biomedical, electronics, elastomers etc.).

The properties of polymers depend not only on their composition—the types of monomers used to synthesize them—but also on their topology. Differences in how polymer chains are connected within the molecule can lead to materials properties that vary for polymers made from the same monomer. For example, high-density polyethylene made with mostly linear chains and few branches is stiff and strong, and can be used for pipes. When made with many branching chains, it is more flexible and can be used in shopping bags.

In our Group, we develop new methods to perform controlled radical polymerizations in solution and on surfaces.



Electro-photocatalysis entails the merging of one electron and one photon in the same reaction cycle. This is opening unexplored pathways in synthetic chemistry.

The unique features of the combined electro-photo-chemical approach are exploited to discover new reaction pathways, to improve the selectivity of a catalyst, and to build new materials via polymerization reactions. In particular, the sum of the energy of one electron and one photon in the same reaction cycle enable to reach unprecedented high energy levels to perform challenging reactions.

Ultimately, this procedure directly mimics Nature’s own solution to the energy problem: Every day, colored pigments in plants absorb the energy of two visible photons to drive a thermodynamically challenging process between two molecules that do not absorb visible light—CO2 and H2O.