The Convergence of Synthetic Organic and Polymer Chemistries.
Several recent conceptual advances, which take advantage of the design criteria and practical techniques of molecular-level control in organic chemistry, allow preparation of well-defined polymers and nanostructured materials. Two trends are clear: the realization that synthesis of complex macromolecules poses major challenges and opportunities and the expectation that such materials will exhibit distinctive properties and functions. Polymer synthesis methods now being developed will yield well-defined synthetic macromolecules that are capable of mimicking many of the features of proteins (for example, three-dimensional folded structure) and other natural materials. These macromolecules have far-reaching potential for the study of molecular-level behavior at interfaces, in thin films, and in solution, while also enabling the development of encapsulation, drug-delivery, and nanoscale-patterning technologies.