Assembling polymer crystals and deciphering how they grow

The laboratory of Prof. Rufina Alamo is working with crystalline polymers that are models to understand the growth of lamellae-like polymer crystals. These novel polymers are characterized by the extreme precision in their chemical structure. Most have a simple methylene repeated backbone and have a different unit inserted at a precise equal distance along the polyethylene-like backbone.

Rufina Alamo
Crystalline polymers

Funded by the National Science Foundation and working with graduate students Xiaoxhi Zhang, Wei Zhang, and postdoctoral associate Laura Santonja we documented that the mechanism of polymer crystal growth is led by events that take place while a segment of the molecule attaches at the growth front. These works have recently appeared in Macromolecules (2018, 51 1386) and the Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2017, 121, 10166)