MSE Seminar Series: Thomas H. Epps, III

Friday, December 7, 2012
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Room 2108 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
JoAnne Kagle
301 405 5240

Using Interfacial Manipulations to Generate Functional Materials from Nanostructured Polymers

Thomas H. Epps, III
Thomas & Kipp Gutshall Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Delaware

As future technological progress necessitates the design and control of nanoscale devices, new methods for the facile creation of smaller features must be discovered. One sub-class of soft material, block copolymers, provides the opportunity to design materials with attractive chemical and mechanical properties based on the ability to assemble into periodic structures with nanoscale domain spacings. To employ block copolymers in many applications, it is essential to understand how interfacial energetics influence copolymer morphologies. Two areas of recent research in the group involve: (1) probing the effects of interfacial composition on block copolymer self-assembly using tapered block copolymers, and (2) generating gradient substrate and “free” surfaces for thin films block copolymer studies. In the first area, we are manipulating the interfacial region between blocks to control ordering transitions in tapered diblock copolymers and triblock copolymers. This ability to adjust copolymer energetics allows us to generate nanoscale networks for applications ranging from analytical separation membranes to ion-conducting materials. In the second area, we are manipulating polymer thin film interfacial interactions using discrete gradient methods to control the free surface interactions, and gradient arrays of assembled monolayers to influence the substrate surface interactions. In particular, our chlorosilane monolayer gradients and solvent vapor gradients permit rapid screening of the surface/polymer interactions necessary to induce the desired nanostructure orientations in many block copolymer systems.

About the Speaker
Prof. Epps is currently the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a joint appointment in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware (UD), and an affiliated faculty member at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI). He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1998 and an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1999. He completed his graduate research at the University of Minnesota and received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2004; he then joined NIST as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Epps joined UD in the summer of 2006.

His research interests include nanostructured assemblies for targeted drug delivery, polymeric materials for bio-separation and ion-conduction membranes, nanostructured soft materials for catalytic applications, and the exploration of surface responsive polymer films using combinatorial methods. Dr. Epps has received several honors and awards including: the Thomas & Kipp Gutstall Professorship (2012); the UD Alison Society, Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award (2011); the DuPont Young Professor Grant Award (2010); the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2009); the Air Force Young Investigator Award (2008); the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award (2007), a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (2007), and an NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2004) among others. In addition, he was the panel moderator for the Percy L. Julian Celebration at the National Academy of Sciences (2007). Dr. Epps also is active in the American Chemical Society (ACS Board of Directors Diversity Partner), American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Physics Society (Polymers Division), and Sigma Xi. At UD, he is a member of the Center for Neutron Science and Center for Molecular and Engineering Thermodynamics.

Audience: Graduate  Faculty  Post-Docs 

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