Professor: Christopher Ober
Project Description: Nanoparticles, i.e., organic or inorganic particles in the range of 1-10nm, and block copolymers (polymers in which two or more chemically different homopolymer chains are covalently linked) are two kinds of materials that are widely used in modern life with applications ranging from shoe soles to wall paints. Composite materials from polymers and nanoparticles are also ubiquitous and find application mainly because of their unique mechanical or optical behavior. In block copolymer/nanoparticle composites, the exact location of nanoparticles in the polymer is crucial for defining the properties, and control over the polymer-particle interactions is mandatory to understand the material’s behavior. By synthesizing new kinds of polymers with functional groups that bind reversibly to the particle surfaces, we will be able to control the location of nanoparticles in block copolymer domains on the molecular scale. This project will involve synthesis of block copolymers and nanoparticles and surface characterization using state-of-the-art methods.