I will focus on the synthesis and applications of amphiphilic Polymer Co-Networks (APCNs). APCNs may be considered as nanophase-reinforced hydrogels and represent a class of materials with unique properties such as optical transparency and the ability to swell in both polar and apolar solvents These properties arise from the APCN’s hydrophilic/hydrophobic co-continuous phase morphology and render them highly interesting for applications ranging from contact lenses to membranes for drug delivery. I will present a new synthetic method for the creation of APCNs with variable compositions by using PFPA as an additional monomer during the synthesis. With the assistance of APCNs’ particular morphology, hydrophobic and hydrophilic luminescent materials were loaded in adjacent nanometer-separated domains. This novel APCNs could find potential uses in the energy-harvesting field, serving as wearable luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) for the next generation of flexible and wearable photovoltaics.
Dr. Luciano F. Boesel is currently Group Leader at Empa. His main focus of activities are the study of the interaction between optically active molecules and polymers, the control of their nanoscale arrangement, the development of non-invasive sensors (physical, chemical, bio) for monitoring body parameters, and the development of drug delivery systems based on light-responsive materials.
Dr. Boesel has a Bachelor and Master in Materials Engineering from the Federal Univ. of São Carlos (Brazil), and a PhD in Materials Science and Technology (Biomaterials) from the Univ. of Minho (Portugal). Before joining Empa in 2010, he was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Institute of Science and Technology of Polymers (CSIC, Spain) and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research (Germany). He has published more than 80 papers in refereed journals, 8 book chapters, and more than 60 abstracts to conferences.