Nanoscale science and engineering continue to evolve from a scientific novelty to a broad-based technology with potential to transform medicine, productivity, sustainability, and the quality of life. Nanotechnology is likely to be at the core of emerging technologies that will define the 21st century. However, as of today, nanoscale science and engineering is still in its formative phase. This is because most of the research is based on indirect measurements, there is limited direct control at the nanoscale and one cannot systematically build a material to perform a specific function by design. There must be a transition from empirical synthesis of nanoscale components for improving existing products, to a science-based creation of nanoscale systems for the production of fundamentally new products. In order to establish nanotechnology as a general-purpose technology with considerable economic impact, my research group mainly focuses on the following research areas:
(i) “Green” Nanomanufacturing for Manipulation of Structures/Functions of Polymeric Surfaces using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
(iii) Novel Properties of Nanoscale Polymeric Materials on solids
The key for the above projects will lie in the development of rational design strategies. This would be achieved through a fundamental understanding of “mechanics” (dynamics, kinematics, statics) of molecules or assemblies of molecules and/or supramolecules by means of in-situ and real-time experimental tools. For this purpose, we have been integrating a variety of x-ray/neutron/light scattering techniques for both surface/interface and bulk/solution structure analysis at synchrotron/neutron scattering facilities including the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II, Upton), Advanced Photon Source (APS, Argonne), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Gaithersburg), and SPring-8 (Japan). As further applications of in-situ and real-time observation, self-assembling processes of soft matter systems (polymers, colloids, gels, membranes, etc.) under various external stimulants are being studied for achieving a fundamental understanding of the targeted phenomena and for future commercial applications.