Abstract: Translating excellent properties of soft matter such as conjugated polymers and graphene as building blocks into useful material forms may pave the way for their ultimate utilization in various emerging applications including photovoltaics, transistors, super-capacitors, actuators, sensor, biomedicine, and so on. In particular, the fine control of spatial ordering is highly needed for full exploitation of their excellent features.
In the first part of this talk, I discuss our recent efforts on dynamic interfacial interactions between carbon nanotubes and conjugated polymers in marginal solvent. The role of nanotubes on polymer ordering is investigated using electron microscopy and absorption spectroscopy. Key kinetic factors are addressed and a theoretical model is proposed. In the second part of this talk, I describe our ongoing research on liquid crystal assembly of graphene. The interplay of surface fields in organizing graphene into ordered patterns is discussed. Liquid crystal directed macroscopic patterns from spokes to spider-webs to parallel stripes are highlighted. A simple liquid crystal microfluidics of graphene is presented as a starting point for spinning of well-aligned graphene fibers.
Bio: Shanju Zhang is an assistant professor of Polymers and Coatings program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Jilin University and his Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the same university. He conducted post-doctoral work on Polymer Physics at University of Cambridge. Before he joined the faculty of Cal Poly in 2011, he was a research scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology and Yale University. He leads an experimental research team focused on polymers and nanotechnology. Topics of interest include conjugated polymers, anisotropic nanoparticles and nanocomposites. He has published 60 papers in the peer-reviewed journals with over 1000 citations. Professor Zhang is the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.
Host: Prof. Megan Valentine