This research aims to understand and control the behavior or polymers grafted to the interior walls of nanochannels. The contour length of the polymer is here comparable to the diameter of the channel. Nanopores in multilayers of metal and dielectric thin films will be fabricated. This will give a vertical channel geometry with exposed metal regions along the pore axis. These *active* nanopore structures enable electrochemical control through the continuous metal film and optical analysis through surface plasmon excitation. Stimuli responsive polymers will be grafted to the active nanopores. The morphology of the polymers can then be controlled through electrochemistry, e.g. by inducing collapse through local changes in pH. This means that the nanochannel permeability will be under electrical control and polymer gates can be opened or closed. Plasmon spectroscopy will be used to verify polymer grafting to the interior of the pores and to detect phase transitions by the strongly localized electromagnetic fields. The research is expected to contribute to the understanding of polymer morphology in confined geometries, especially with respect to stimuli responsive polymers. It can also improve the understanding of biological nanopores that govern transport across cell membranes. Applications relate to tuneable size filtering and trapping of single molecules. By individual control of multiple polymer gates it is possible to mix the contents in volumes as small as one attoliter.
Docent at Applied Physics, Bionanophotonics
Funding years 2013–2016