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Brian Michal '10

Current Position: Research Engineer, Coil and Extrusion Coatings, Akzo Nobel

B.S.E. Thesis Research:

The aim of this work is the synthesis and characterization of styrene-hexyl methacrylate diblock copolymers.  The work is mainly focused on the anionic polymerization of styrene-hexyl methacrylate, specifically, creating a synthesis scheme for preparing polymers of different molecular weights and compositions.  The second part of the project focuses on analyzing the polymers formed using techniques such as gel permeation chromatography (GPC), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS).  Styrene-hexyl methacrylate copolymers are particularly useful for nanofabrication because of their ability to form well-ordered nanodomains, which can be aligned on a substrate and used as an etching mask for creating nanowires.  The first goal of the work is to develop a robust synthesis procedure so that these polymers can be prepared with a high degree of control over molecular weight and composition.  The second goal is to gain a better understanding of how the molecular weight and polymer affects the microstructure spacing.  Ultimately, this allows for the creation of a synthetic protocol for creating polymers with desired nanoscale periodicities.