100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science Viewpoint: Opportunities in the Physics of Sequence-Defined Polymers

Sarah L. Perry, Charles E. Sing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymer science has been driven by ever-increasing molecular complexity, as polymer synthesis expands an already-vast palette of chemical and architectural parameter space. Copolymers represent a key example, where simple homopolymers have given rise to random, alternating, gradient, and block copolymers. Polymer physics has provided the insight needed to explore this monomer sequence parameter space. The future of polymer science, however, must contend with further increases in monomer precision, as this class of macromolecules moves ever closer to the sequence-monodisperse polymers that are the workhorses of biology. The advent of sequence-defined polymers gives rise to opportunities for material design, with increasing levels of chemical information being incorporated into long-chain molecules; however, this also raises questions that polymer physics must address. What properties uniquely emerge from sequence-definition? Is this circumstance-dependent? How do we define and think about sequence dispersity? How do we think about a hierarchy of sequence effects? Are more sophisticated characterization methods, as well as theoretical and computational tools, needed to understand this class of macromolecules? The answers to these questions touch on many difficult scientific challenges, setting the stage for a rich future for sequence-defined polymers in polymer physics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
JournalACS Macro Letters
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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