Polymers consisting of an inorganic backbone with organic or organometallic side chains are called inorganic organic hybrid polymers (IOP), while polymers consisting of an organic backbone with inorganic side chains or groups are called organic inorganic hybrid polymers (OIP).
The inorganic domains will affect abilities like thermal resistance, fire resistance, resistance to radiation, biological stability and electrical conductivity. The organic domains will affect solubility, flexibility, hydrophobicity and other surface related abilities.
One of the most common methods for the synthesis of hybrid polymers is the sol-gel process. An inorganic network is built by controlled hydrolysis and condensation of organically modified metal oxides, in this case silicon. This inorganic network can be further modified.