Campus Box 3290 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3290, USA

Research Polymer/Materials

Polymer/Materials Research

Many challenging problems in the modern science and technology are related to preparation, properties, and utilization of novel functional materials. The polymer chemistry and the chemical microelectronics programs represent parts of the multidisciplinary effort in this field. The many-pronged approach includes: synthesis and molecular characterization of well-defined block and graft copolymers; preparation of new engineering thermoplastics and liquid crystalline materials; synthesis, modification and processing of polymers in super-critical carbon dioxide; chemical design of hybrid polymers for catalysis and photoredox activity, polymers for microelectronics applications including 193 nm and 157 nm photoresists and low-k dielectrics, and defined microstructures.

Research projects span a wide range of chemical analysis science and include, but are not limited to, biosensors, nanoscopic materials, neurochemistry, microvolume separations and analysis, protein adsorption, supercritical fluids and single-molecule analysis; for examples of currently active research projects please see the list below. The division has strong relationships with a large number of companies in the pharmaceutical, chemical and scientific instrumentation industries, which provide continued support of research fellowships and the Analytical Seminar series.

Recent Research Results

Tackling Plastic Waste

The unique properties imparted by planar, rigid aromatic rings in synthetic polymers make these macromolecules useful in a range of applications, including disposable packaging...

Geometric Superlattices

Perfect trapping of light in a subwavelength cavity is a key goal in nanophotonics. Perfect trapping has been realized with optical bound...

Perovskite Solar Cells

Two-dimensional, 2D, perovskites, with a formula of (RNH3)2MAn-1PbnI3n+1, have shown impressive photovoltaic device efficiency...

Representative Publications

Upcycling Aromatic Polymers through C–H Fluoroalkylation.
Sally E. Lewis, Bradley E. Wilhelmy, and Frank A. Leibfarth.
Chem. Sci., 2019, Advance Article, DOI 10.1039/C9SC01425J

Optical Bound States in the Continuum with Nanowire Geometric Superlattices.
Seokhyoung Kim, Kyoung-Ho Kim, and James F. Cahoon.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 187402 – Published 10 May 2019

Synthetic Control over Orientational Degeneracy of Spacer Cations Enhances Solar Cell Efficiency in Two-Dimensional Perovskites.
Jun Hu, Iain W. H. Oswald, Samuel J. Stuard, Masrur Morshed Nahid, Ninghao Zhou, Olivia F. Williams, Zhenkun Guo, Liang Yan, Huamin Hu, Zheng Chen, Xun Xiao, Yun Lin, Zhibin Yang, Jinsong Huang, Andrew M. Moran, Harald Ade, James R. Neilson, and Wei You.
ACS Appl. Polym. Mater., 2019, 1 (4), pp 804–814

Green-Solvent-Processed Conjugated Polymers for Organic Solar Cells: The Impact of Oligoethylene Glycol Side Chains.
Zheng Chen, Liang Yan, Jeromy James Rech, Jun Hu, Qianqian Zhang, and Wei You.
ACS Appl. Polym. Mater., 2019, 1 (4), pp 804–814

Catalyst-Controlled Stereoselective Cationic Polymerization of Vinyl Ethers.
A. J. Teator, F. A. Leibfarth.
Science 29 Mar 2019, Vol. 363, Issue 6434, pp. 1439-1443

General Post-Annealing Method Enables High-Efficiency Two-Dimensional Perovskite Solar Cells.
Liang Yan, Jun Hu, Zhenkun Guo, Hong Chen, Michael F. Toney, Andrew M. Moran, and Wei You.
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2018, 10 (39), pp 33187–33197

A Universal Platform for the Electrodeposition of Ligand-Free Metal Nanoparticles from a Water-in-Oil Emulsion System.
Matthew William Glasscott, Andrew David Pendergast, and Jeffrey E. Dick.
ACS Appl. Nano Mater., Just Accepted Manuscript

Chameleon-Like Elastomers with Molecularly Encoded Strain-Adaptive Stiffening and Coloration.
Mohammad Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani, Andrew N. Keith, Yidan Cong, Heyi Liang, Martin Rosenthal, Michael Sztucki, Charles Clair, Sergei Magonov, Dimitri A. Ivanov, Andrey V. Dobrynin, Sergei S. Sheiko.
Science 30 Mar 2018, Vol. 359, Issue 6383, pp. 1509-1513

Mimicking Biological Stress–Strain Behaviour with Synthetic Elastomers.
Mohammad Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani, William F. M. Daniel, Matthew H. Everhart, Ashish A. Pandya, Heyi Liang, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Andrey V. Dobrynin & Sergei S. Sheiko.
Nature volume 549, pages 497–501 (28 September 2017)