Soft materials are an integral part of everyday life, from the food we eat, the displays we look at, and even in our bodies. These materials are present in a state of matter between liquid and solid, and their macroscopic behavior is the result of interactions at the mesoscopic scale, the collective organization of atoms and molecules.
The overarching theme of research in this area, as well our research on functional materials, is rational design and development of materials with unique structures, properties and function. Key research themes include polymeric and polymer matrix composite materials (Edwards, Guo, Khomami, Kilbey, Sangoro, Stein), nanoscale self-assembly and organization (Guo, Khomami, Kilbey, Stein), Nano- and -mesoscale interfacial engineering (Khomami, Kilbey, Stein), polymer synthesis and functionalization (Advincula, Kilbey, Stein), patterning semiconductors (Stein, Doxastakis), organic/inorganic elastomers (Doxastakis), and rheology (Edwards, Khomami). Areas of applications include thin film devices, smart coatings, structural materials, nanomedicine, and renewable energy.
Little Things Matter
Prados Associate Professor Gila Stein’s research group is conducting important work with photo-sensitive polymers and block copolymers.
Tailoring the Attraction of Polymers toward Surfaces
Gila Stein’s lab is developing blends of architecturally distinct polymers that spontaneously sort into layers during melt or solution processing. This technology can decouple the mechanical properties and surface functions of polymer-based materials (plastics), which is important for the design of coatings that inhibit fouling of proteins and microorganisms. This research is published in Macromolecules.