Functional polymers and light: optical and biomedical applications


Functional polymers having a well-controlled macromolecular or supramolecular architecture is a subject of high interest in Material Science and Nanoscience. In particular, our group has two main lines of interest that are devoted to the synthesis, characterization, processing and properties of: 

  • light-responsive materials for optical technologies, and 
  • biodegradable photolymers for the preparation of microstructured materials useful for regenerative medicine.


Main research activity is focused on polymers for optical applications using controlled radical polymerization and click chemistry as synthetic strategies. Concerning optical storage, our work has been focused in photoinduced anisotropy and holographic gratings recording in polymeric thin and thick films (volume holography). Recording conditions (temperature, polarisation, UV preirradiation) under continuous laser excitation have been optimized. Supramolecular chirality has been also induced in achiral materials by irradiating with circular polarized light. Exploration of transfer of chirality to the material is now investigating in polymers, gels and model compounds.



Photoresponsive amphiphilic block copolymers having a dendritic-linear architectures are being investigated and give rise to self-assembled aggregates which range from nanofibers to polymer vesicles depending on the generation of dendrons. Application in transport and delivery controlled by light is being investigated. Alternatively photochromic supramolecular BCPs and amphiphilic light-responsive gels based on sugars are also explored. 


Planar waveguides and the application as nonlinear optics have been also explored in azopolymers. In the last case, photoassisted poling has been explored as an alternative to conventional thermal techniques. On the other hand, there are other research lines concerning to luminescent liquid crystals, which can be used in tunable lasing in liquid crystal devices or in anisotropic electro and photoluminescence.


We have initiated a new research line concerning to the preparation of biodegradable photopolymers and the processing of 2D structures using photolithographic techniques. Photopolymers are based on biodegradable polymer having clickable units. Cell proliferation and biodegradability is now studying in this type of materials as the first step of evaluation of these materials as scaffolds for tissue engineering.



Hierarchical Self -Assembly of Polymeric Soft Systems.
Code: 607602       Entity: 7th Framework Programme, UE




Síntesis y aplicaciones de polímeros y copolímeros bloque
supramoleculares inteligentes con propiedades de respuesta a estímulos.
Code: MAT2011-27978-C02-02                     Entity: MEC

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            Financial support:  Gobierno de Aragón  MINECO   FECYT