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Glass Formation and Glassy Behavior of Polymers

An aim of our research group is to help usher in a more comprehensive understanding of the glass transition through three activities:

  1. The development of processing methods that allow for the formation of glasses with energies         spanning the entire landscape
  2. Investigating the dynamics of glass formers at the length scale that defines the glass transition, i.e., the nanoscale
  3. Probing the glass transition below the glass transition temperature, i.e., structural relaxation

Because of the complexity of the glass transition and range of tasks, a multidisciplinary team combining expertise from polymer science, engineering, and process technology (laser processing) is required.  My group is actively involved at the interface of these communities.  Individually, these activities aim to address unanswered questions about the glass transition, and collectively, to experimentally support, question, or guide theories of the glass transition.  Numerous tangible technological benefits will emerge from our studies.  For example, an understanding of glassy behavior at the nanoscale is key to the microelectronics industry were nanoconfined glasses serve as the technologies enabling material.  Our work aims to provide that understanding

Current Projects

The Glass Transition of Polymer Spheres Under Soft and Hard Confinement

Structural Relaxation of Nanoconfined Polymer: Isochoric vs. Isobaric Glass Formation

Formation of Glassy Polymer Films by Matrix Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation

Adaptive Materials and Functional Nanoparticles

Polymers are unique in that their physical properties can be tuned by control of molecular weight and addition of functional moieties. Yet, once made, the materials themselves are passive and static.  In stark contrast, natural systems are active.  They can sense and perform adaptations based on received information in a controlled feedback manner.  The adaptations are reversible and may be graded in activity.  We are interested in developing structure-property-performance relationships of active supramolecular polymers that exhibit healing and shape memory properties.  We are also interested the hybrid supramolecular polymers.                    

Current Projects

Utilizing supramolecular interactions for adaptive materials

Formation of metallic nanoparticles from the supramolecular self-assembly of organic/salt complexes

Hybrid materials from supramolecular interactions for on-demand property manipulation