Welcome to the Nanomaterials and Surface Science Laboratory located in 317 and 212 White Hall, home of the Chemical Engineering Department. This laboratory is focused on making and studying various nanomaterials and thin films. Significant expertise has been developed in the creation of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) as well as the growth and use of graphite nanofibers (GNFs).
SAMs have many practical applications including inhibiting corrosion and oxidation and facilitating or preventing wetting. Due to the synthetic flexibility of SAM building blocks and the ease of preparing monolayers, SAMs have enabled the straightforward formation of tailored organic interfaces for studying biocompatibility, immobilization of proteins, friction, and electron transfer. We have developed synthetic techniques, including the use of supercritical carbon dioxide, for making SAMs with improved and tailored properties.
GNFs are easy to manufacture and cheaper than their closely related carbon nanotubes (CNTs). We can control the orientation of the graphene sheets to generate fibers with ribbon, platelet, or herringbone configurations and are currently studying these fibers as catalysts for synthetically important reactions and for additives for improving thermal conductivity in a variety of materials including phase change materials and polymers.