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Multifunctional polymer nanostructures

Tailor-made nanomaterials with distinct properties
Finding new ways to access unprecedented polymeric and hybrid nanostructures with the aim to produce complex and multifunctional nano-scale materials for applications in catalysis, energy, sensing and nanomedicine.
An illustration of polymer brushes

Compartmentalised molecular polymer brushes find advanced applications in self-assembly, nanomedicine and as templating scaffolds

Our research uses controlled polymerisation techniques to construct polymer architectures and polymer assemblies to address key questions in a range of University priority areas. A focus of our research is centred around molecular brushes and shape-anisotropic nanomaterials, which is feeding into three key research interests: self-assembly, cellular interactions and hybrid materials.


Nature’s countless examples of multi-functional advanced materials are often achieved by bottom-up self-assembly of organic and inorganic building blocks. In this project, we will establish a novel class of compartmentalised polymeric building blocks for the construction of superstructures through inter-particle associations. A long-term goal is the development of biomimetic materials. This project was supported by the 2016 Selby Research Award.

Cellular interactions

Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems overcome many limitations of traditional delivery strategies for therapeutics. However, the superficial penetration of tumours by therapeutic nanoparticles is a key hurdle to treatment success. In this project, we will establish a structure–function–property relationship based on molecular brushes. This will allow us to screen for ideal nanoparticle design parameters to improve tissue and tumour penetration of polymer nanomedicines. This project is further supported through an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA).

Further reading

ACS Nano 2015, 9, 1294-1304; Chem Commun 2016, 52, 9121-9124; Macromol Chem Phys 2016, 207, 2209-2222.

Hybrid materials

We have developed several synthetic approaches to produce highly uniform hybrid materials by using innovative molecular scaffolds, in situ nanostructuring, as well as traditional template chemistries. Our research in using brush architectures as template scaffolds has contributed to the rise of compartmentalised nanostructures. This project was supported by an Australian Nanotechnology Network Fellowship.

Further reading

Polymer 2016, 98, 389-401, Polym Chem 2017.


Muellner Markus

Senior Lecturer
  • Room 454 School of Chemistry F11