Rint Sijbesma’s research uses supramolecular and dynamic covalent chemistry to develop the next generation of ‘’smart’’ polymers. The development of dynamic and stimuli-responsive materials is one of the central themes in his group. In many projects, the stimulus is mechanical in nature. Self-assembling hydrogels which mimic the mechanical properties of natural fibrous tissues are a highlight in this program. In related research, polymers are studied that respond to a mechanical stimulus by emitting light – thus giving rise to an ultrasensitive tool to report damage at the molecular level. Moreover stress-sensitive catalysts are developed for self-healing materials.
Dynamics and responsiveness also play a main role in a program that uses dynamic covalent chemistry to create adaptive materials such as vitrimers. These materials find application in 3D printing, in coatings and as engineering materials.
Another theme in Sijbesma’s research is the use of self-assembly to create nanostructured polymeric materials. The focus is on the use of columnar liquid crystals to form polymeric films with a high density of monodisperse, nanometer sized pores. In a related activity, columnar liquid crystals are used to develop a new generation of organic ferroelectric materials.
Rint Sijbesma studied chemistry at Utrecht University where he graduated cum laude in 1987. In 1992 he obtained his PhD at the University of Nijmegen for research into synthetic receptor molecules under the supervision of Prof. Roeland Nolte. The following year he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Fred Wudl at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) on the organic chemistry of C60 (buckminsterfullerene). In 1993, Sijbesma joined the group of Prof. E.W. (Bert) Meijer at Eindhoven University of Technology, where he started his work on supramolecular polymers as assistant professor. In 2002, he became associate professor and with a 'Pionier' grant from NWO set up a research line in the area of 'Functional Self-Assembled Polymers'. In 2006 Rint Sijbesma was appointed full professor.
Photo-Crosslinked Coumarin-Containing Bis-Urea Amphiphile HydrogelsGels (2022)
Photo-Responsive Water Filtration Membranes Based on Polymerizable Columnar Liquid Crystals with Azo MoietiesAdvanced Materials Interfaces (2022)
Polymer Mechanochromism from Force-Tuned Excited-State Intramolecular Proton TransferJournal of the American Chemical Society (2022)
Sulfonated polymerized liquid crystal nanoporous membranes for water purificationJournal of Membrane Science (2022)
Dynamic Polyamide Networks via Amide-Imide ExchangeMacromolecules (2021)