Big molecules get big boost

A process developed by Abdellatif Chouai and Eric E. Simanek of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, promises to open up industrial scale production of the dendrimers.

Dendrimers — giant molecules with tree-like branches — suit a variety of applications including coatings and sensors. However, the multiple steps required to make them have thwarted production on a commercial scale. Their method simplifies production by using a so-called “uncommitted intermediate,” a dendrimer scaffolding that can be built upon in countless ways, say the researchers. The route employs common reaction conditions, inexpensive reagents and aqueous solvents.

Enormous branched molecules may offer advantages for a host of commercial applications. Photo: Texas A&M.

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