Self-Assembly of Glycopolymers

The objective of the research project is the development of synthesis strategies to precisely modify biosourced carbohydrates in order to bring new functionalities. For instance, some of the goals are to produce polysaccharide mimetics, electrospun glyco-nanofibers, self-assembled glyco-nanoparticles and thin films or carbohydrate coatings via surface biomimicry for a variety of applications: molecular recognition (sugars, proteins), biosensors, selective filtration, control released, drug delivery, new lithographic template (biodegradable saccharide mask), flexible electronics (conducting glycopolymers), etc.

These new biomaterials, produced with environmentally friendly techniques, develop economically valuable uses for biomass and, at the same time, address important socio-economic problems. To do so, we use biosourced carbohydrate blocks in order to:

  • Engineer and control the architecture of oligo/polysaccharide-based molecules that lead, via the self-assembly mechanism, to biomaterials: nanoparticles and nano-organized thin films.
  • Valorize the biomass as an alternative renewable source of materials (use of natural macromolecules) instead of those produced by oil-chemistry.

This is a real challenge, strongly motivated by the potentials offered by mimicking Nature and by exploiting, at the nano scale level, the potential of oligo- and polysaccharides towards the developments of novel :

  • Glyco-nanoparticles (their encapsulation and 'decoration' or 'coating'): Design and control of the shape, their encapsulation with hydrophobic/hydrophilic active molecules, their decoration/coating with specific sugars and their ability to interact via specific sugars with proteins.
  • Glyco-nano-organized thin films (long-range 2D & 3D order): Explore the conditions under which, the different microphases, the film thickness and the long-range order on 2D & 3D levels (defect-free) and micro-domain orientation, as well as other factors (annealing, temperature) can be controlled.
  • Smart surfaces and manipulations: characterization of the nano-organized thin films and highlight/quantify the interactions.
Those studies are carried out with the help of the state-of-the-art in molecular and macromolecular chemistry and soft matter physical-chemistry techniques. Nanoparticles as well as nano-organized films are investigated using static (SLS) and dynamic light scattering (DLS), small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and direct imaging techniques such as TEM, cryo-TEM, SEM and AFM.
Solvent annealing H2O/THF = 4/1 (w/w) for 24h, than dried at room temperature
Atomic Force Microscopy (Phase picture) of  Maltoheptaose-b-Polymer  nano-organized in cylinders of carbohydrates in PS-Silicium matrix
GISAXS (ESRF - Grenoble) Thin-Films made of Sugar-based Block Copolymers