Work in the Priestley Laboratory applies principles of physics, chemistry and engineering towards nanoscale processing and characterization of polymers and soft matter with particular emphasis on thin films, colloids, and nanocomposites. Our work aims to advance the fundamental understanding of how processing combined with confinement and interfacial effects modify materials properties, and how these modifications can be exploited for new materials design. We also endeavor to engage in the use sustainable materials and green processing.

The work strongly impacts the use polymers in thin film for membranes and coatings; nanocomposites as advanced materials; colloids for stabilization, delivery of active ingredients and molecular building blocks, water remediation as well as the final fate of polymers in the environment.  We achieve our research goals via three research themes:

Theme I: Glass formation and glassy behavior of polymer thin films and nanocomposites

  1. How does irreversible adsorption alter the glass transition dynamics of polymer thin films and nanocomposites?
  2. Characterization and tuning of deformation at polymer-polymer interfaces
  3. Diffusion at the interface of amorphous polymer thin films
  4. Polymer/graphene nanocomposites: sustainable materials and processing

Featured publications:

D. Christie, R.A. Register, R.D. Priestley, The Role of Chain Connectivity Across an Interface on the Dynamics of a Nanostructured Block Copolymer, Physical Review Letters 2018, 121, 247801 (link)

M. Chowdhury, Y. Guo, Y. Wang, W.L. Merling, J.H. Mangalara, D.S. Simmons, R.D. Priestley, Spatially-Distributed Rheological Properties in Confined Polymer by Non-Contact Shear, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letter 2017, 8, 1229 (link)

H. Kim, Y. Cang, E. Kang, B. Graczykowski, M. Secchi, M. Montagna, R.D. Priestley, E.M. Furst, G. Fytas, Direct Observation of Polymer Surface Mobility via Nanoparticle Vibrations, Nature Communication 2018, 9, 2918 (link)

Theme II: Physical vapor deposition of macromolecules

  1. Formation of nanostructured and stable amorphous polymer films
  2. Additive growth and crystallization of polymer thin films
  3. Polymer-polymer alloying by MAPLE deposition

Featured publications:

H. Jeong, M. Chowdhury, Y. Wang, M. Sezen-Edmonds, Y-L. Loo, R.A. Register, C.B. Arnold, R.D. Priestley, Tuning Morphology and Melting Temperature in Polyethylene Films by MAPLE, Macromolecules 2018, 52, 512 (link)

K. Shepard, R.D. Priestley, MAPLE Deposition of Macromolecules, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 2013, 214, 862 (link)

Y. Guo, A. Morozov, D. Schneider, J. W. Chung, C. Zhang, M. Waldmann, N. Yao, G. Fytas, C. B. Arnold, R. D. Priestley, Ultra-Stable Nanostructured Polymer Glasses, Nature Materials 2012, 11, 337 (link)

Theme III: Scalable and sustainable formation, and application of polymer-based colloids

  1. Production of patchy and Janus colloids by Flash NanoPrecipitation
  2. Hybrid Janus colloids as next generation surfactants and catalyst
  3. Production of capsules for protecting ingredients by Spinning Polymer into Nanocapsules (SPIN)
  4. Reactive-FNP for encapsulation of active ingredients
  5. Structured colloids as adhesives

Featured publications:

L.S. Grundy, V.E. Lee, N. Li, C. Sosa, W.D. Mulhearn, R. Liu, R.A. Register, A. Nikoubashman, R.K. Prudhomme, A.Z. Panagiotopoulos, R.D. Priestley, Rapid Production of Internally Structured Colloids by Flash NanoPrecipitation of Block Copolymer Blends, ACS Nano 2018, 12, 4660 (link)

V. E. Lee, C. Sosa, R. Liu, R.K. Prudhomme, R.D. Priestley, A Scalable Platform for Hybrid Functional Polymer Nanocolloids via Continuous Flash NanoPrecipitation, Langmuir 2017, 33, 3444 (link)