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Vol. 26 No. 6
November-December 2004

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

Chemistry at the Interfaces

P.R. Sundararajan, W.Z.Y. Wang,
and A.M. MacMillan (editors)

Pure and Applied Chemistry
Vol. 76, Nos. 7–8, pp. 1295–1603 (2004)

A double issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry has been devoted to a selection of papers presented at the 39th IUPAC Congress and 86th Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry held 10-15 August 2003 in Ottawa, Canada. “Chemistry at the Interfaces” was the title of the conference, which was organized along six general chemical themes: Analytical, Chemical Education, Inorganic, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Organic, and Physical and Theoretical. The congress offered broad symposia topics from nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes to metalloproteins and metals in medicine to the chemistry of nucleic acids. The selections made for this issue of PAC, prefaced by Alex McAuley, Congress president, involve the interdisciplinary aspects of macromolecular science and engineering and nucleic acids chemistry.

Controlling Self-Assembly
Ubiquitous in nature, molecular self-assembly relies on two key elements: chemical complementarity and structural compatibility. While non-covalent interactions such as hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, and van de Waals interactions play a role in self-assembly of molecular motifs, it is equally important to understand the mechanism of self-assembly, in terms of atomic and molecular sequences. In other words, how the primary structure of a molecule or a sequence of molecules controls the secondary and tertiary structures, which are the ultimate entities that dictate the functional properties of a molecular system.

The title of the congress symposium “Controlling the Self-Assembly in Macromolecular Systems: from Nature to Chemistry to Functional Properties” intentionally emphasized control. While self-assembly is enabled by the choice of motifs, controlling the extent of such self-assembly to precisely tailor the functional properties is a challenge. For example, can we command the same polymer system to self-assemble using, say, only 60% of the hydrogen bondable groups for one application, and 100% for another? Thus, discussion related to controlling the nature and the extent of self-assembly was the intent of this symposium chaired by P.R. Sundararajan. A broad range of topics was covered, including block copolymer vesicles, micelles for drug delivery, hydrogen-bonded supramolecular structures, and dendritic polymers with specific functional properties.

Polymers in Electronics and Photonics
Electro-active and photo-active polymers are being considered for use as the active components in a wide range of electronic and photonic devices, such as liquid crystals and light-emitting diodes displays, electro-optic modulators, optical attenuators, electronic circuits, solar cells, actuators, memory elements, lasers, and chemical and biological sensors. In comparison with inorganic materials, functional polymers can be readily fabricated as thin films on substrates at much lower processing temperatures and even directly incorporated into specifically defined locations on a substrate using the printing technology.

In this paper, Yamamoto et al. describe the design, synthesis, and properties of a new class of metal-binding dendrimers. The authors show the state-of-the-art synthesis, unique properties, and potential applications of these polyazomethine dendrimers. In a paper by Wong et al., the synthesis and multifunctional properties of phenylenevinylene oligomers are described. The structurally well-defined oligomers are particularly interesting for a number of applications such as light-emitting diodes and solar cells.

Papers by Dalton and Wang deal with recent advances in the field of organic materials, which have telecommunications applications. Nonlinear optical polymers as described by Dalton and near infrared electrochromic organic materials as reviewed by Wang show great potential for use in a number of telecommunication devices, such as modulators and variable optical attenuators that operate in the near-infrared wavelengths.

Papers by Barrett, Ikeda, Rochon, and Zhao deal with azobenzene and photo-active liquid crystal polymers. Finally, Sundararajan offers morphological reasoning in his paper to account for the enhanced charge carrier mobility in the doped polymer systems, which is useful for the rational design of polymer-based optoelectronic devices.

Chemistry of Nucleic Acids
New developments in the chemistry of nucleic acids demonstrate growing interdependence with disciplines such as biology, medicine, and materials science, and offer the promise of unimagined future opportunities and consequences. The date of this symposium afforded a happy opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historical paper by Watson and Crick, which continues to inspire endeavors in nucleic acid chemistry.

The ensuing papers in this issue are introduced with a brief overview by Andrew MacMillan, chair of the symposium, of the developments and milestones that have characterized the past 50 years. MacMillan emphasizes the diversity of current research in this field, including work on synthetic design and methodology, targeted synthesis, and structure-function.

For an overview of the 2003 IUPAC Congress and Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry see Nov-Dec 2003 CI, p. 10 or <www.iupac.org/publications/ci/2003/2506/3_mcauley.html>.

www.iupac.org/publications/pac/2004/7607


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