The Polymers for Advanced Energy Sustainability (PAES) Group focuses on structure and dynamics in heterogeneous polymer materials, such as block copolymers and polymer-grafted nanoparticles. We are interested in how structure affects dynamics at the nanometer length scale and how that effect is transmitted up length scales to mesoscopic and eventually to macroscopic where it impacts material properties. Sustainable energy applications of particular interest include polymer electrolytes for lithium batteries and thermogalvanic cells, membranes for gas and water separations, and artificial muscles.
We develop and use cutting-edge techniques, some of which require travel to national labs. For example, we use neutron spin-echo spectroscopy at Oak Ridge National Lab to study dynamics at the local (segmental) length scale. We use time-resolved X-ray scattering at Argonne National Lab to study dynamics at the mesoscopic length scale (the domain size in block copolymers). Much of our expertise in macroscopic dynamics relates to transport of small molecules through polymer materials and membranes. We use time-resolved Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to examine Fickian diffusion and thermal diffusion in polymer electrolytes and polymer membranes. We have used time-resolved 7Li MRI at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory to examine transport in polymer electrolytes. In addition, we use mechanical measurements, such as rheology, to study macroscopic mechanical properties. We have developed electrochemical techniques for solid electrolytes. We do a limited amount of synthesis in our laboratory and have several collaborations with polymer chemists that allow us to examine novel materials.
We would welcome a postdoctoral scholar with a proposed project that fits with our group's interests and expertise. We have argon-filled glove boxes for air-sensitive research, facilities for chemical synthesis, FTIR spectrometer with custom attenuated total reflectance accessories, as well as access to the full suite of standard materials characterization equipment. Please contact Daniel Hallinan with interest.
A new postdoctoral scholar would receive training in anionic synthesis, membrane preparation, time-resolved spectroscopies, electrochemistry, mechanical testing, transport modeling, polymer physics, and/or 3D printing. The PI (and collaborators if applicable) would mentor the postdoctoral scholar in further developing their scientific writing and oral presentation skills, with national conference attendance encouraged.