Enhancement of anhydrous proton transport by supramolecular nanochannels in comb polymers
Transporting protons is essential in several biological processes as well as in renewable energy devices, such as fuel cells. Although biological systems exhibit precise supramolecular organization of chemical functionalities on the nanoscale to effect highly efficient proton conduction, to achieve similar organization in artificial systems remains a daunting challenge. Here, we are concerned with transporting protons on a micron scale under anhydrous conditions, that is proton transfer unassisted by any solvent, especially water. We report that proton-conducting systems derived from facially amphiphilic polymers that exhibit organized supramolecular assemblies show a dramatic enhancement in anhydrous conductivity relative to analogous materials that lack the capacity for self-organization. We describe the design, synthesis and characterization of these macromolecules, and suggest that nanoscale organization of proton-conducting functionalities is a key consideration in obtaining efficient anhydrous proton transport.
YB Chen, M Thorn, S Christensen, C Versek, A Poe, RC Hayward, MT Tuominen, and S Thayumanavan. "Enhancement of anhydrous proton transport by supramolecular nanochannels in comb polymers" Nature Chemistry 2.6 (2010): 503-508.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sankaran_thayumanavan/41