Peptide materials

The secondary structure of proteins and peptides is key to their function in biological contexts. Secondary structure in dry polymers is much less studies, and is a promising route to designing new and improved materials. Our group has been developing solid polymer electrolytes with helical backbones using peptide backbones, and has shown a major enhancement of ionic conductivity relative to random coils. We have also begun to explore how helical backbones behave differently from conventional polymer chains when diffusing in the melt. Finally, we are investigating polymer networks with helical linkers to understand how elasticity is different with stiffer chains. Classical theories assume random coil conformations to describe rubbery behavior which will be fundamentally different with helices.