Porous Polymer Monoliths


Porous Polymer Monoliths: Tailoring Porosity and Chemistry

Frantisek Svec
The Molecular Foundry
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Porous polymer monoliths emerged in the late 1980s. Their morphology was found to differ significantly from that featured by their cousins, macroporous beads. Owing to the preparation method, monoliths include dual pore size distribution consisting of large, micrometer sized through-pores and some much smaller macropores. Since their inception, porous polymer monoliths found numerous applications such as stationary phases for chromatography, adsorbents for solid phase extraction, supports for immobilization of catalysts, and superhydrophobic surfaces. Their advantages include ease of the preparation, robustness, high permeability to flow, rapid mass transfer via convection, and a vast variety of chemistries. Typical porous polymer monoliths of first generation exhibited a small surface area since they lacked the meso- and micropores. To eliminate this weakness, we have now developed and demonstrated monoliths of second generation using the new two step approach to the control of porous properties. It includes the preparation of monolith with a “classical” porous structure and providing it with nano and mesopores via the hypercrosslinking reaction carried out in situ. This technique enables the preparation of porous polymer monoliths possessing a large surface area, thus making them useful for new applications. Surface chemistry of the monoliths can readily be controlled using copolymerization with monomers bearing the desired functionality. This approach led us to monoliths with superhydrophobic surfaces. However, we prefer methods such as chemical modification of preformed monolith, and photografting of pore surface with polymer chains bearing the desired functionalities that enable the preparation of monoliths in which both porous structure and chemistry optimized independently. For example, photografting of hydrophilic PEG-based monomers provides monoliths with reduced hydrophobicity, “click” chemistry enables variety of functionalization reactions, etc. Recently, we have introduced a novel approach consisting in modification of monoliths with nanoparticles.


Speaker Background

Frantisek Svec received both degrees (B.S. in chemistry and Ph.D. degree in polymer chemistry) from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (Czech Republic. In 1976 he joined the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences where he was promoted through the ranks to the Head of Department and the Scientific Secretary of the Institute. He joined the faculty at Cornell University in 1992. Since 1997, he is appointed at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also visiting professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and currently works as Facility Director in the Molecular Foundry of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Svec has authored over 380 scientific publications, edited 2 books, and authored 75 patents. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Separation Science and member of editorial boards of a number of renowned journals. In 2003 he was elected President of CASSS (formerly California Separation Science Society). In 2005 he was awarded with M.J.E. Golay Medal in Chromatography and EAS Award for Achievements in Separation Science. In 2006, he obtained Honorary doctorate of philosophy in Sweden and in 2009 Honorary professorship in China. He has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the ACS Award in Chromatography and 2009 Dal Nogare award. F. Svec is best known for his research in the area of macroporous polymers in different shapes such as beads, flat sheets, and, in particular, monoliths. His studies involve use of these materials in numerous applications.



Thursday August 12


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park Mountain View, CA  94043
Directions  Map


6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture





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Lecture-only is free.


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Please register on the web page or contact:
Len Radzilowski

phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

5PM, Wednesday August 4 for early registration discount
5PM, Wednesday August 11 for registration (or until venue has reached capacity.)

Dinner Selections:

Salmon filet with beurre blanc
Chicken Marsala
Grilled Vegetable Brochette with wild rice

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