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  • Online publication date: November 2012

2 - The dendritic state



Historically, each of the three traditional macromolecular architectural classes (i.e. I. Linear, II. Cross-linked, III. Branched) have opened very rich polymer science frontiers. The importance of each major architectural class is apparent from the recognition they have received based on named Nobel laureates and new emerging applications; as shown in Figure 2.1. These traditional polymer architecture discoveries have been characterized by the emergence of new syntheses, structures, properties, and products that have not only advanced polymer science but also dramatically improved the human condition during this past century [1, 2].

In the past decade, nanotechnology initiatives have created an international focus on new “bottom-up” synthesis strategies. These synthesis strategies are focused on new nanostructures, phenomena and properties associated with dimensional length scales residing between 1–100 nm [3–5]. These dimensions encompass many key biological building blocks (i.e. protein, DNA, RNA, etc.) and critical biological applications (i.e. nanomedicine, drug delivery, nano-pharmaceuticals), as well as abiotic application areas of interest (i.e. nano-photonics, nano-electronics). This chapter focuses on an emerging, fourth major class of polymer architecture, namely, the dendritic architectural state and the implications of its convergence with traditional polymer science and nanoscience [6, 7].

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