Voltage-responsive surfaces, channels, and bulk materials
Polymers with bulky, ionic liquid groups attached to the backbone can posses massive dielectric constants. As a result, these materials can respond more rapidly and strongly to applied fields than conventional polyelectrolytes. They also do not require water to operate allowing for higher voltage operations without concomitant water splitting.
Our group is interested in fabricating voltage responsive ionic polymer brushes (tunable friction and hydrophobicity surfaces), polymer coated microfluidics (tunable drag), and bulk materials (tunable viscosity and modulus). This is a faster stimulus than temperature, pH, or ionic strength changes typically used to elicit polymer response. Many of the responsive materials will be designed based on insights from the diffusion and optical sensing projects.