A hypercrosslinked polymer was synthesized by a Friedel-Crafts alkylation of a phenolic resin with a robust mesoporous framework to avoid framework shrinkage and maximize retention of organic functional groups.
ORNL researchers successfully developed a soft chemistry synthetic strategy based on a Friedel–Crafts alkylation reaction for textural engineering of phenolic resins (PR) with a robust mesoporous framework to avoid serious framework shrinkage and maximize retention of organic functional moieties. In Figure 1a, the construction of the tructural molecular bridges between neighboring aromatic backbones in a highly cross-linked state, not only strengthens the soft organic system to enable mesoporous engineering, but also creates abundant micropores for the inclusion of solvents for template removal. Benefiting from the synthetic protocol, the resultant sample Meso-PR is a bimodal micro-mesoporous material with a rather high specific surface area of 782 cm2 g-1. Interestingly, this robust organic framework exhibits a promising property for CO2 capture. Currently, this synthetic method is being employed for the fabrication of polystyrene-based nanoarchitectures, by taking advantage of the molecular bridges for polymeric curing and template removal. We believe that this soft chemistry synthetic protocol can be further extended to the nanotextural engineering of other aromatic polymers.