Polymer physics for the 21st century


The program of talks for the Gordon Research Conference on Polymer Physics in 2010 made for fascinating reading. Organised by Karen Winey at the University of Pennsylvania, it included a diverse line up of researchers working on everything from polymer electronics to biological systems, manipulating light with polymers to physical properties of polyelectrolytes, blends, block copolymers and beyond. It was exciting to see such a rich vision of polymer physics in all its guises.

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At every conference that targets polymer physics we are seeing a similar trend. All sorts of physicists working on polymers are recognising that their materials' properties are deeply intertwined: the morphology of the polymer in a solar cell has significant effects on the device performance. The more we learn about biological polymers like DNA, actin and collagen, the more we realise we can interpret their behaviour, albeit augmented with the complex interactions that determine their biological functions, by applying polymer physics problem solving. And the next generation of batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen storage and supercapacitors looks likely to be reliant on polymers that can couple just the right transport and physical properties.

To better interpret and understand the properties and potential applications of a polymeric system, we need to think broadly about how all aspects of its behavior interact. And the most powerful way to do that is to work with other researchers who study the physics of polymers in all its forms, discuss ideas and make use of their understanding.

It is the facilitation of this exchange of ideas between polymer researchers that inspired us in the development of the Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Physics. Since the original launch of the Journal of Polymer Science in 1946 by the renowned polymer scientist, Herman Mark, it has been a highly regarded and well-loved forum for sharing understanding in polymer physics. Some of the most important papers in polymer science have appeared in the journal, including the first growth of polyethylene single crystals from xylene and the universal calibration of GPC.

The journal's recent history has already incorporated some of the fascinating topics that make up modern polymer physics. What we aim to do now is to bring this breadth to the fore, with a series of Reviews and primary research papers that will deliver you physicists' work on polymers from the furthest reaches of the field. Our goal is to fuel discussion between polymer physicists of all sorts, bringing you in every issue something directly related to your work along with something in polymer physics you might never have considered before.

On this note, we hope you'll enjoy the first issue from our new volume. We start with two Reviews of very twenty-first-century uses of polymers. Yasuhiro and Kotaro Koike guide us through developments in polymer optical fibres, whilst Thomas Stieglitz and his co-workers discuss requirements of polymers that are to be used as neural implants. Both consider how polymer scientists are responding to these demands with new materials and engineering.

Our range of papers in this first issue also reflects the vitality of the field. From adhesion to lab-on-a-chip biosensors, through solar cells, crystallisation and ultrafast optical properties, you'll find all types of physics of all types of polymer systems to stimulate your thinking.

A 21st-century journal demands modern publishing processes, and we're delighted to bring our authors rapid peer-review, managed by our team of professional in-house editors. Our new workflow ensures that post-acceptance, papers are published online in just 15 days to ensure your work is available to the community as quickly as possible. Moreover, to foster inter-disciplinary communication even beyond the field of polymer science we promote our most exciting papers through the forum of MaterialsViews.com, Wiley's news site dedicated to bringing you the latest in all kinds of materials science. Finally, we hope you've already appreciated our redesign, with a graphical table of contents to help you quickly find what you're looking for and a new image from polymer physics showcased on the cover of every issue.

We're delighted to welcome you to the new journal and we hope you enjoy what we'll be bringing you over the coming months. To be part of the new Polymer Physics and share your work with an international network of physicists working on polymers, submit your paper now, via www.polymerphysics.org.

We look forward to hearing from you, but in the meantime, enjoy Issue 1!

Vicki Cleave

Managing Editor