Knut Irgum: Polymeric Materials
Materials is the key to modern biosciences, where the preparation, characterization and analysis of most biomolecules would have been impossible without access to a variety of separation devices.
The number of fundamental separation chemistries currently in use is surprisingly small and separation materials for biochromatography are almost exclusively made from synthetic or natural polymers with carefully designed morphology and surface chemistries. The focus of our group is thus synthesis, characterization and evaluation of novel polymeric materials with controlled porous properties and functionalized surfaces, for use in bioseparation processes. We develop new separation materials in several different ‘confections’, where monolithic materials, monodisperse particles and membranes are the most important formats synthesized. Many aspects are important in the design of a separation material, with the key factors being the morphology of the carrier and its surface chemistry. Most of our materials are synthesized by addition polymerization from vinylic monomer procursors, although condensation and dissolution/precipitation schemes are also recently also employed for some syntheses. We are also active in developing new grafting schemes for polymeric functionalization of separation material surfaces.