Donald A Tomalia, Jørn B Christensen and Ulrik Boas

Cambridge University Press

2012 | 412pp | £60

ISBN 9780521515801

Since the term was first coined in 1985 by Donald Tomalia, dendrimer research, a branch of polymer chemistry, has increased dramatically. Creating these polymers with well defined, highly branched architectures has inspired the synthetic talents of many groups, giving the range of dendrimer types known today. 

Dendrimers are primarily synthesised through repetitive reactions, using branched monomers and iterative protection and deprotection steps leading to near perfect structures, unlike their hyperbranched polymer cousins. Dendrimer and dendritic polymer applications range from drug delivery and homogeneous catalysis to transfection vectors and light emitting polymers. Several families of dendrimer are now commercially available and this has expanded their potential applications greatly, making them readily available to researchers without the need for arduous synthetic processes.

This book, by some of the leaders in the field, offers an excellent introduction to the diversity of dendrimer chemistry.  A broad overview of potential applications sits well beside a catalogue of dendrimer chemistries, each named after the research group that created them. The images of dendrimers, with their beautiful snowflake-like structures, make it quite captivating. The reader is guided through the applications of dendrimers and dendritic polymers, the features of each, and the influence of dendritic structure on materials’ properties, such as the dendritic effect.

The book is, at times, overly reliant on content and images from review papers from the last decade, and the book may lack detail for those seeking information on specific dendrimer applications. However, this does not detract from its usefulness in summarising the first 25 years of dendrimer research, and the book is an ideal go-to guide for those new to the field. 

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