3. Synthesis and Assembly of Nanostructured Polymeric and Hybrid Materials

3. Synthesis and Assembly of Nanostructured Polymeric and Hybrid Materials

Ryan Hayward (Polymer Science & Engineering) and Todd Emrick (Polymer Science & Engineering)

This project will combine new synthetic polymer and nanocomposite materials with self assembly and morphological characterization techniques to produce nanostructured materials that can be implemented in a variety of energy-related devices including membranes, electrodes, optoelectronic devices, solar cells, and light emitting materials.  Previous collaborative research between Emrick and Hayward has focused on connecting p-type and n-type materials in unique architectures that lead to advanced device performance.1-3 REU students involved in this project will develop new polymer materials that combine polymers with tailored architectures, chemical functionalities, and physical properties and will use these novel polymers in assembly techniques designed to generate structures ideal for components of devices. Specific proposed activities include:

Polymer synthesis and characterization: An REU student in the Emrick group will prepare polymers, nanoparticles, and hybrid materials from functional building blocks.

Solution assembly: An REU student in the Hayward group will study processes by which these materials self-assemble using techniques such as X-ray and light scattering, optical spectroscopy, and microscopy.

•  Collaborative Effort: The REU students in each group will collaborate to understand how polymer and nanoparticle structure impacts assembly and device performance.  The students will further benefit from the extensive array of photophysical characterization and device fabrication capabilities within the UMass Amherst facilities.


  1. Acevedo-Cartagena, DE., Zhu, JX., Trabanino, E., Pentzer, E., Emrick, T., Nonnenmann, SS., Briseno, AL., Hayward, RC. “Selective nucleation of poly(3-hexyl thiophene) nanofibers on multilayer graphene substrates” ACS Macro Letters, 2015, 4, 483-487. DOI: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.5b00038
  2. Hammer, BAG., Reyes-Martinez, MA., Bokel, FA., Liu, F., Russell, TP., Hayward, RC., Briseno, AL., Emrick, T. “Reversible, self cross-linking nanowires from thiol-functionalized polythiophene diblock copolymers” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014, 6, 7705-7711. DOI: 10.1021/am500976w
  3. Lee, CH., Crosby, AJ., Hayward, RC., Emrick, T. “Patterning nanoparticles into rings by ‘2-d Pickering emulsions’” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014, 6, 4850-4855. DOI: 10.1021/am405828a