12 PARTICIPATING FACULTY:
BIANCONI, EMRICK, GIDO, HALLOCK, HOAGLAND, KOKKOLI, MCCARTHY, MUTHUKUMAR, ROTELLO, RUSSELL, SANTORE, TUOMINEN (WITH 9 GRADUATE STUDENTS AND 1 POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW)
The increasing technological need for small-scale devices, sensors with amplified response, and well-defined bioresponsive surfaces requires a control over the lateral arrangement of morphologies in thin films or interacting sites on a surface. Polymeric materials offer unique opportunities to meet this challenge via self-assembly processes giving access to structures over a wide range of length scales. Self-assembly alone, though, is not sufficient. Rather, directed self-assembly is necessary to achieve simultaneous orientation and lateral order of structures. Interfacial interactions and external fields provide effective means to regulate orientation. However, achieving control over the extent of lateral order, ranging from defect-free structures to well-defined gradients requires coupling at least two orthogonal fields. Integrating chemistry, physics, biochemistry and engineering, IRG-I will develop routes to tailor order in thin films by making use of interfacial interactions to manipulate thin film morphologies and surface topography. IRG-I will pursue distinct, yet interrelated research areas to achieve these ends (shown schematically in the figure).