Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics

Cover image for Vol. 54 Issue 21

Online ISSN: 1099-0488

Associated Title(s): Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry

Polymers for People

A deep understanding of the physical aspects of polymers is vital in advancing their uses for people, be it for water management, energy applications or healthcare. We are delighted to provide free access to this collection of recent papers from the Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Physics, which showcases a range of reviews, perspectives, full papers and communications on these important topics.


Theoretical perspective on properties of DNA-functionalized surfaces

Abhishek Singh, Hamed Eksiri, Yaroslava G. Yingling

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22349

DNA-functionalized surfaces are primarily used in biosensing devices and to drive the self-assembly of biological, organic and inorganic moieties into novel materials. This perspective discusses the recent progress in understanding the structure and dynamics of DNA immobilized on the surfaces from the theoretical point of view.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(22), 1563–1568.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22349


Polymer nanocomposites for electrical energy storage

Qing Wang and Lei Zhu

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22337

Polymer nanocomposites represent one of the most promising and exciting avenues for the development of dielectric materials with high energy densities for applications in advanced electronic devices and electric power systems. By judiciously selecting polymer matrix and nanoparticles and engineering organic–inorganic interfaces, the dielectric properties can be tuned and the energy density has been greatly improved in the polymer nanocomposites. This review presents an overview of the current strategies and general dielectric property–structure correlations.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(20), 1421–1429.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22337

Block copolymer strategies for solar cell technology

Paul D. Topham, Andrew J. Parnell and Roger C. Hiorns

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22302

As polymer solar cells attract more attention in both research and commercial spheres, greater control over polymer morphology is desired. This review covers various strategies used to incorporate block copolymers into organic photovoltaic devices. Block copolymers exhibit extraordinary properties that collide perfectly with the needs of organic photovoltaics. Pitfalls are discussed in the light of current progress alongside possible solutions for future global implementation.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(16), 1131–1156.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22302

Biomedical applications of biodegradable polymers

Bret D. Ulery, Lakshmi S. Nair and Cato T. Laurencin

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22259

Polymers have shown tremendous capacity as biomaterials with degradable polymers holding particular promise. Control over their microstructure and nanostructure as indicated by the blue and orange regions, respectively, allow for the design of complex materials that have desired interactions with host cells and tissues. This review overviews the wide range of degradable polymers that are available to biomedical researchers paying specific attention to new advances that have been made in the past 4 years.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(12), 832–864.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22259

Translocation of biomolecules through solid-state nanopores: Theory meets experiments

Maria Fyta, Simone Melchionna and Sauro Succi

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22284

Translocation of biopolymers through nanometer-sized pores has recently attracted great attention due to its enormous potential to provide an ultra-fast sequencing technique for reading out the genetic information in DNA. The polynucleotides are threaded through the pore by means of an electric field applied at the pore region. This article reviews takes a look at what experimental and theoretical work to date can tell us about the translocation process and the underlying mechanisms at play.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(14), 985–1011.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22284

Conducting polymers: Efficient thermoelectric materials

Nidhi Dubey and Mario Leclerc

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22206

Thermoelectric systems are very effective in harvesting electricity from waste heat or heat sources with small gradients relative to environmental temperature. Indeed, thermoelectric materials turn heat into electricity without any moving parts and could therefore be a green option for everything from power generation to microprocessor systems. This review highlights the recent progress made in this area utilizing conducting polymers and related composites. In particular, studies on polymer/inorganic materials composites have revealed very good Seebeck coefficients and high electrical conductivities with relatively low thermal conductivities.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(7), 467–475.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22206

Water purification by membranes: The role of polymer science

Geoffrey M. Geise, Hae-Seung Lee, Daniel J. Miller, Benny D. Freeman, James E. McGrath and Donald R. Paul

Membrane technology is expected to continue to dominate the water purification technologies owing to its energy efficiency. However, there is a need for improved membranes that have higher flux, are more selective, are less prone to various types of fouling, and are more resistant to the chemical environment, especially chlorine, of these processes. This Review looks at the nature of the global water problem and reviews the state of the art of membrane technology. Existing deficiencies of current membranes and the opportunities to resolve them with innovative polymer chemistry and physics are identified.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2010, 48(15), 1685–1718.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22037

Water-mediated transport in ion-containing polymers

Michael A. Hickner

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22381

Water–polymer interactions control the properties of ion-containing membranes. High rates of ion transport in these types of polymers are promoted by fast water diffusion. The transport tradeoffs in new materials can be optimized by modifying the chemical composition and ionic domain structure of the membrane. Understanding the behavior of these materials, as reviewed here, is critical to designing next-generation materials for fuel cells, electrical energy storage devices, and water treatment membranes.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2012, 50(1), 9–20.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22381


A "self-pinning" adhesive based on responsive surface wrinkles

Edwin P. Chan, Jeffrey M. Karp and Robert S. Langer

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22165

Stimuli-responsive materials with dynamically changeable surface wrinkle patterns can be used to tune adhesion. Here a moisture-responsive surface-wrinkled adhesive is bonded to a hydrogel. Changes in surface morphology on exposure to water modify crack pinning as the wrinkles debond from the hydrogel surface, tailoring adhesion. This mechanism could inspire alternative approaches to develop biomedical tape-based adhesives, which need to work with hydrated, compliant hydrogel-like materials such as soft tissues.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(1), 40–44.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22165

Optimization of organic electrochemical transistors for sensor applications

Omid Yaghmazadeh, Fabio Cicoira, Daniel A. Bernards, Sang Y. Yang, Yvan

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22129

Polymer electrochemical transistors make ideal candidates for chemical and biological sensing thanks to their low-cost and compatibility with aqueous environments. Numerical modeling shows the ideal device geometries and polymer properties for sensing either ionic currents or electrochemical reactions. The results can be used to produce optimized electrochemical transistors for sensing applications such as medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(1), 34–39.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22129

Soft bacterial polyester-based shape memory nanocomposites featuring reconfigurable nanostructure

Kazuki Ishida, Rebecca Hortensius, Xiaofan Luo and Patrick T. Mather

Graphical Abstract Image polb.23021

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) with soft and elastomeric mechanical properties even in the "fixed" shape are drawing considerable attention for applications such as tissue engineering and dry adhesion. This work reports the preparation of a novel soft SMP nanocomposite consisting of a bacterial poly(3-hydroxyoctanoate-co-3-hydroxyundecenoate) (PHOU)-based covalent network grafted with inorganic–organic hybrid polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS). Because of its softness and reconfigurable nanostructure, the PHOU–POSS SMP nanocomposite exhibits excellent bulk and microscale surface shape memory performances.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2012, 50(6), 387–393.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.23021

Full papers

A pH-sensitive, strong double-network hydrogel: Poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylates–poly(acrylic acid)

Sina Naficy, Joselito M. Razal, Philip G. Whitten, Gordon G. Wallace and Geoffrey M. Spinks

Graphical Abstract Image polb.23016

Double-network (DN) hydrogels are particularly interesting for their similarities they share with biological systems and their impressive mechanical strength. A pH responsive DN system composed of two biocompatible polymers is shown to exhibit pH driven cluster formation caused by association between poly(ethylene glycol) side chains and a polyacrylic acid network. The clusters contribute to the enhanced strength and extensive de-swelling at low pH. The properties of these DN hydrogels are ideal for applications as artificial muscles or controlled release devices.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2012, 50(6), 423–430.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.23016

The influence of solid-state microstructure on the origin and yield of long-lived photogenerated charge in neat semiconducting polymers

Obadiah G. Reid, Jennifer A. Nekuda Malik, Gianluca Latini, Smita Dayal, Nikos Kopidakis, Carlos Silva, Natalie Stingelin and Garry Rumbles

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22379

The photophysics of poly(3-hexylthiophene) films is important because of the central role this polymer plays in transistor devices or organic solar-cells. However, the yield of free charges upon photoexcitation of neat films has remained controversial because of a wide variation between previous measurements. This controversy is resolved by showing that the yield of free charges depends sensitively on the solid-state microstructure of the film, which is controlled through molecular weight and processing conditions.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2012, 50(1), 27–37.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22379

Control of cell growth direction by direct fabrication of periodic micro- and submicrometer arrays on polymers

Denise Langheinrich, Edith Yslas, Martín Broglia, Viviana Rivarola, Diego Acevedo and Andrés Lasagni

Graphical Abstract Image polb.23017

The physical and topological properties of polymeric biomaterials can control cell behavior. Contact guidance of cells on line-like micrometer and sub-micrometer patterns rapidly fabricated using the direct laser interference patterning (DLIP) method is studied here. Although the structure depths are less than 1 µm, cells strongly respond to them. For the smallest spatial period of λ = 500 nm, the highest orientation (~80%) is obtained.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2012, 50(6), 415–422.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.23017

The phase behavior of a polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunction system that contains bimolecular crystals

Nichole Cates Miller, Roman Gysel, Chad E. Miller, Eric Verploegen, Zach Beiley, Martin Heeney, Iain McCulloch, Zhenan Bao, Michael F. Toney and Michael D. McGehee

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22214

Some polymer:fullerene blends used in bulk heterojunction solar cells, such as pBTTT blends with PC71BM, form bimolecular crystals due to fullerene intercalation between the polymer side chains. By using differential scanning calorimetry and 2D grazing incidence X-ray scattering with in-situ thermal annealing the pBTTT:PC71BM phase diagram is determined. In addition, it's also shown to be possible to suppress intercalation by heating the blends above the eutectic temperature.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(7), 499–503.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22214

The role of alkane dithiols in controlling polymer crystallization in small band gap polymer:Fullerene solar cells

Tiziano Agostinelli, Toby A. M. Ferenczi, E. Pires, Samuel Foster, Andrea Maurano, Tiziano Agostinelli, Toby A. M. Ferenczi, E. Pires, Samuel Foster, Andrea Maurano, Christian Müller, Amy Ballantyne, Mark Hampton, Samuele Lilliu, Mariano Campoy-Quiles, Hamed Azimi, Mauro Morana, Donal D. C. Bradley, James Durrant, J. Emyr Macdonald, Natalie Stingelin and Jenny Nelson

Graphical Abstract Image polb.22244

The influence of 1,8-octanedithiol (ODT) on the microstructure of blend films of the polymer PCPDTBT and fullerene derivative [70]PCBM is studied to elucidate the mechanism by which ODT affects solar cell efficiency. Adding ODT improves the performance of these solar cells through enhanced crystallization of the polymer and better percolation pathways for charge carriers. However, the improvement in performance is limited by an increased rate of bimolecular recombination.

J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2011, 49(10), 717–724.
DOI: 10.1002/polb.22244