Coming to the end of this Royal Society of Chemistry book project, I would like to thank a number of people, but also mention my own brief history related to this new exciting field of amphiphilic polymer co-networks (APCN). Starting from the latter, I should mention that our own APCN research was first funded in 1996 by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) whilst I was a lecturer at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), and later by the European Commission and the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (now Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus) after my move to the University of Cyprus in 1998. My colloid chemistry background from my years as a doctoral student was instrumental for my appreciating the peculiar self-assembly behaviour in the semi-solid APCN system. Equally important was my familiarisation with controlled polymerisation chemistry, both from my post-doctoral training (living cationic polymerisation of vinyl ethers) and doctoral studies (group transfer polymerisation of methacrylates), for designing and preparing near-perfect APCNs based on block copolymers. It is noteworthy, however, that we currently employ controlled radical polymerisation for polymer synthesis, and we even obtain from colleagues all over the world premade linear and star polymers as the building blocks for our APCNs.
Moving now to the acknowledgements, I would like to first thank all chapter authors, coming from twelve countries and four continents, and also Prof. J. P. Kennedy who was kind enough to write a nice Foreword to the book. My thanks also go to the Royal Society of Chemistry team, in particular Leanne Marle initially, and later Connor Sheppard, who were always available to help me with the various issues that arose during my editing of this book.
This is also the time to express my appreciation to the various organizations that funded my APCN research during the past quarter century, as mentioned in the first paragraph of this Preface. Moreover, I take the opportunity to thank my many collaborators in the APCN field, helping us with scattering (C. M. Papadakis of the Technical University of Munich, M. Gradzielski of the Technical University of Berlin, D. Clemens of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, and P. D. Butler of the National Institute of Standards and Technology at Gaithersburg, Maryland), microscopy (J. C. Tiller of the Technical University of Dortmund), mass spectrometry (C. Wesdemiotis of The University of Akron), and ion conductivity measurements (J.-F. Gohy of the Catholic University of Louvain), but also those providing to us APCN building blocks (B. Iván of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, V. Ladmiral and B. Ameduri of the Charles Gerhardt Institute at the CNRS in Montpellier, T. Sakai of The University of Tokyo, A. Blanazs of BASF SE at Ludwigshafen am Rhein, and H. Iatrou of the University of Athens). Furthermore, I wish to extend my gratitude to the many talented researchers I was blessed to work with during the past 23 years, both students and post-docs, several of whom now hold academic positions either in Cyprus or overseas. I would also like to thank my family, particularly my wife and our two daughters, for their support over the years. This book is dedicated to the memory of my father who passed away just a few months before the end of my work on the book.
Finally, I hope the readers find the book useful, and the book contents stimulate further research in the field, especially by newcomers, ideally by combining elements found in different chapters. This is also one of the reasons why I have included in Chapter 1 summaries of all book chapters, allowing for a facile and comprehensive overview of the APCN field.
Costas S. Patrickios