Stimuli-Responsive Polymers in the 21st Century: Elaborated Architecture to Achieve High Sensitivity, Fast Response, and Robust Behavior

Harald Kirsebom, Igor Galaev, Bo Mattiasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Life is polymeric in its essence. The living cell contains a range of biopolymers such as proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. The cells are often compartmentalized via membranes that are composed of lipids. These are small molecules, but they spontaneously aggregate into supermolecular structures. The building blocks of these lipids are among others fatty acids, structures built from methylene oligomers. Biopolymers are sensitive to external stimuli. There are examples where the molecules show a highly non-linear response to external stimuli. This is seen as moderate changes in structural properties in response to changes in an external parameter until a critical point is reached where a dramatic change in molecular properties takes place upon an incremental change in the external conditions. After the transition, the system responds poorly to further changes. Such non-linear responses contribute to dramatic cooperative conformational changes leading to strong effects in the biological system. The strong response is an integrated effect of many weak interactions, and it is the cooperativity between all these interactions that are the driving forces for processes occurring in such systems. (c) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 49: 173-178, 2011
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-178
JournalJournal of Polymer Science. Part B, Polymer Physics
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Industrial Biotechnology

Keywords

  • smart polymers
  • stimuli-responsive polymers

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