Functional polymers: From plastic electronics to polymer-assisted therapeutics

J. M.J. Fréchet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Functional macromolecules once sought almost exclusively for their mechanical or thermal properties are now finding numerous applications in a great variety of areas. In some cases, newly designed functional polymers provide such an array of new properties and functions that they effectively create fields rather than extend or support them. This brief account focusing largely on the work of the author's own laboratory explores recent advances in the design of functional polymers in two seemingly very disparate areas: organic or 'plastic' electronics and polymer therapeutics. While at first glance the requirements for functional polymers appear to be quite different for these two areas, the same general design concepts apply, focusing first on the definition of the key properties to be achieved, followed by the establishment of a synthetic blueprint encompassing these aims, and concluding with proof of concept studies. The examples given in this account illustrate the vibrant nature of research in the area of functional polymers and its great potential impact on to-morrow's technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-857
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Polymer Science (Oxford)
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support of our research by the US Department of Energy (Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098), the National Institutes of Health (GM 65361 and EB 002047), the National Science Foundation (DMR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is acknowledged with thanks. In addition I am indebted to my coworkers and collaborators at the University of California, the University of Southern California (Prof. M. Thompson and coworkers) and the University of California at San Francisco (Prof. F. Szoka and coworkers) whose names are cited in the references for their key contributions to the work described in this brief account.


  • Drug delivery
  • Functional polymer
  • Light emitting diode
  • Organic electronics
  • Organic transistor
  • Photovoltaics
  • Polymer therapeutics
  • Vaccine carrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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