- Kateri DuBay, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville
The sequences of copolymers formed via current synthetic approaches are not well characterized. Biology has evolved ways to make highly refined polymers, with quite specified sequences; however, without the complex biochemical machinery that is typically involved in the formation of such biopolymers, it remains an open question as to which monomers end up where within a given chain, and why. The sequence order is thought to be almost entirely governed by the relative reaction barrier heights between different types of monomers. However, using coarse-grained modeling, we demonstrated that transient associations and emergent self-organization among the reacting monomers and nascent oligomers during the polymerization process can exert considerable influence over the sequential arrangement of monomers in the final copolymer chain.