Starburst Dendrimers: Molecular-Level Control of Size, Shape, Surface Chemistry, Topology, and Flexibility from Atoms to Macroscopic Matter

Authors

  • Dr. Donald A. Tomalia,

    Corresponding author
    1. Applied Organic and Functional Polymers Research, The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI 48674 (USA)
    • Michigan Molecular Institute 1910 W. St. Andrews Road, Midland. MI 48640 (USA)
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  • Dr. Adel M. Naylor,

    1. Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
    Current affiliation:
    1. Merek, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Molecular Systems Department, West Point, PA 19486 (USA)
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  • Prof. William A. Goddard III

    1. Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • STARBURST is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company.

Abstract

Starburst dendrimers are three-dimensional, highly ordered oligomeric and polymeric compounds formed by reiterative reaction sequences starting from smaller molecules—“initiator cores” such as ammonia or pentaerythritol. Protecting group strategies are crucial in these syntheses, which proceed via discrete “Aufbau” stages referred to as generations. Critical molecular design parameters (CMDPs) such as size, shape, and surface chemistry may be controlled by the reactions and synthetic building blocks used. Starburst dendrimers can mimic certain properties of micelles and liposomes and even those of biomolecules and the still more complicated, but highly organized, building blocks of biological systems. Numerous applications of these compounds are conceivable, particularly in mimicking the functions of large biomolecules as drug carriers and immunogens. This new branch of “supramolecular chemistry” should spark new developments in both organic and macromolecular chemistry.

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