| Julie Kumachev |

   The current trend to miniaturization of existing devices dictates the ever-increasing need for improved performance of polymer thin films. To meet this need, major advances are required in our ability to synthesize appropriate polymers, and to characterize their properties. Among the device applications of particular interest to us, we include photonics and nonlinear optics, sensor technologies, electroactive protective shields, low friction coatings, and electroactive coatings. In the more traditional areas of adhesives and decorative and protective coatings, the need for technological change is different. Here, concern for the environment is the driving force for profound changes in contemporary technology, to achieve improved performance and environmental friendliness at reduced cost.

   There are synergies among these very different technologies; these include the need for a deep understanding of the nature of polymer surfaces and interfaces. To reach our goal, we brought together five scientists with different areas of expertise to work together in the area of organic and hybrid thin films. The Centre for the Study of Thin Polymer Films provide them with a unique opportunity to develop their interests in this area, while at the same time enriching team members with the experience of their colleagues in the Centre.

   The Centre supports research in two core projects and seven individual projects. Each of the individual projects requires a strong skill and deeper understanding of the topics to be investigated in the core projects: polymer synthesis, and the characterization of polymer surfaces and interfaces. In synthesis, we focus on novel methods for controlling the locus of covalent binding of dyes and electroactive groups to polymers. For characterization, our goal is to develop new methods to study evolution and properties of interfaces. Some of the individual projects depend on progress in one of the core projects, while other individual projects require advances in both. The synergies between the core projects and the more focused individual projects will enable us to design new generations of materials and also create a knowledge base that extends beyond these immediate goals.

The two Core projects and seven Individual projects of the Centre