NORMAN J. WAGNER
Director of Center for Neutron Science
Unidel Robert L. Pigford Chair in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Joint Professor in Physics & Astronomy
Professor, Biomechanics & Movement Science (BIOMS Program)
Office: 227 Colburn Laboratory
Phone: (302) 831-8079
Colloid and polymer science, rheology and electrorheology, complex fluids, molecular thermodynamics, transport phenomena, molecular simulation. The interesting and technologically useful properties of modern, high performance materials are a direct result of nanoscale and/or molecular control of their underlying microstructure. Intelligent materials processing strategies control this microstructure to achieve a desired molecular and often, supramolecular structure to meet specific product performance criteria. Thus, our research is focused on developing a fundamental understanding of the dynamical behavior of materials during processing, which can be used to predict the effects of processing on material microstructure and hence, final product performance. This research has broad application and is supported by numerous international industrial concerns as well as by the National Science Foundation. Much of the research is collaborative with investigators and institutions from around the world.
Office: 235 Brown Lab
Phone: (302) 831-4804
Research in the Bloch group involves the synthesis and characterization of porous materials as novel adsorbents and catalysts. In order to address problems with the storage and/or activation of natural gas we are targeting the synthesis of metal-organic polyhedra based solids and liquids. In the case of the former, the modular synthesis of discrete clusters allows for precise tuning of pore size and geometry to optimize solid-gas interactions. Towards porous liquids, both neutral and charged polyhedra bearing various surface ligand functional groups are being prepared as a means to tune melting point, solubility, and gas uptake in these unique materials. In addition to a host of spectroscopic techniques, our lab utilizes single-crystal and powder X-ray and neutron diffraction, small angle scattering, and inelastic neutron scattering.
THOMAS H. EPPS, III
Office: 215 Colburn Laboratory
Phone: (302) 831-0215
The primary focus of the Epps laboratory lies in designing, building, and characterizing new polymeric materials exhibiting molecular level self-assembly. Several applications for block copolymers and polymer blends under investigation in our group include: battery and fuel cell membranes, organic photovoltaics, analytical separations membranes, nanoscale containers and scaffolds for targeted drug delivery, precursors to electronic arrays, and surface responsive materials. We manipulate polymer internal and external interfacial characteristics in bulk and thin film environments to influence the ordering and stability of polymer structures. Assembly processes in our materials are explored with a comprehensive array of reciprocal space (small and wide-angle x-ray and neutron scattering), real space (optical, scanning probe, and electron microscopy), mechanical (dynamic mechanical analysis), and spectroscopic (x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure, and infrared spectroscopy) techniques. Researchers in the group gain experience in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, and biology.
RAUL F. LOBO
Office: 332 Colburn Laboratory
Phone: (302) 831-1261
Microporous catalysts for C1 chemistry, structural characterization of catalysts at atomic and mesoscopic lengthscales, application of neutron diffraction to adsorption and catalysis, conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals.
MICHAEL E. MACKAY
Office: 205 DuPont Hall
Phone: (302) 831-6194
The thermodynamic interaction between nanoparticles and polymers is different to macroscopic systems, or even simple molecular mixtures, when the nanoparticle size approaches the polymeric building block (or monomer) length scale. This is primarily due to geometric and packing constraints imposed by the polymeric molecules’ inability to wrap around the particle. Interestingly, this can promote solubility of chemically dissimilar materials and the synthesis of new materials which is an area of active research in my group. Yet, even when solubility is promoted via nanoscale effects in the bulk it can be disturbed when the system is contained in a thin, supported film, say 100 nm in thickness. Here surface effects can promote nanoparticle assembly at either the solid substrate or air interface dependent on dielectric forces. In this case we use the self-assembly to make the next generation of polymer-based solar cells through three dimensional control of nanostructures.
Office: 360A DuPont Hall
Phone: (302) 831-4559
The development of the processing-property-performance relation of cement-based construction materials, and the design of new materials through the application of multi-scale characterization, nanotechnology and biomimicry.
DARRIN J. POCHAN
Office: 207 DuPont Hall
Phone: (302) 831-3569
Polymer physics; nanocomposites; biopolymers, hydrogels, responsive materials; one, two, and three dimensional superstructured materials based on polymeric manoparticles.
CHRISTOPHER J. ROBERTS
Office: 223 Colburn Laboratory
Phone: (302) 831-0838
Maximizing and controlling protein stability is a ubiquitous problem in biotechnology applications from protein expression to biopharmaceutical production. Marginally stable or unstable proteins lead to loss of catalytic enzymatic activity, loss of protein drug potency, and possibly to immunogenic responses in patients. Our laboratory focuses on problems ranging from thermodynamics of protein folding, to structural and mechanistic features of protein unfolding and aggregation, to protein-protein interactions and aggregate phase behavior, to molecular modeling of protein-protein interactions and protein folding. We combine experiment, theory, and engineering models to develop fundamental yet practical approaches to predicting and interpreting the behavior of a variety of commercial and model protein systems.