Novel Air Purification Materials

In 2009, the TIC/TIM Task Force released a document focused on toxic industrial chemicals and materials (TICs and TIMs) that pose a threat to the lungs and eyes of deployed troops. The list of compounds is prioritized based on toxic hazard and the likelihood of an encounter and includes compounds such as ammonia and cyanogen chloride as well as more commonly recognized threat agents.

Protective Fabrics and Services

Self-decontaminating fabrics and surfaces are desired for the development of enhanced protective equipment for use by the warfighter. Of interest are materials that offer protection against environmental pollutants as well as chemical and biological threat agents.

Contaminant Monitoring in Ground and Surface Water

Nitroenergeic compounds are present in the soil, ground water, and surface water at many U.S. Department of Defense testing and training facilities as a result of the activities, both current and former, at those sites. There is concern regarding the ecological impact and the threat posed to personnel as a result of their persistence and distribution.

Hydrolytic Catalysis on Nanoparticle Surfaces

Catalytic reactions, particularly those involving hydrolytic mechanisms, are a critical area to research in order to enable the development of new countermeasure approaches against chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. We are interested in understanding the basis of how to enhance metal-based homogeneous or heterogenized catalysts and catalytic reactions that can be directed to either chemical agent neutralization and/or bacterial/viral decontamination.

Liquid Crystal Elastomers

Our research objective is the development of liquid crystalline elastomers that are responsive to external stimuli. These materials have several potential applications ranging from soft robotics to shape-changing membranes. Liquid crystal moieties pendent to a polymer network introduce anisotropic mechanical properties and responsive properties to external stimuli including heat, light, and electric fields.

Liquid Crystal Nanoparticles

We have developed a new class of functional organic nanoparticles composed of liquid crystal molecules. Liquid crystal molecules provide several advantageous properties and their incorporation into nanoparticles can be utilized in the development of nanoscale smart technologies that respond to a specific external stimuli in a controlled manner.

Structures Under Flow

A simple sheath flow microfluidic device is used to fabricate polymer micro/nanofibers that have precisely controlled shapes and sizes. Poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) was used as the model polymer for these experiments. The sheath-flow device uses straight diagonal and chevron-shaped grooves integrated in the top and bottom walls of the flow channel to move sheath fluid completely around the polymer stream.

Crystal and Fibrous Structures

X-ray crystallography is a method for determining the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms in matter. The term X-ray crystallography refers to studies of substances, especially solids, in crystal form. However, the basic method used in X-ray crystallography can be applied to a broad range of materials that are not in crystal form. X-ray crystallography plays a vital role in such fields as chemistry, materials science, mineralogy, molecular biology, pharmacology, and polymer science.

Bridging the Nanomaterial-Biology Interface: Extending the Cellular Applications of Inorganic Nanoparticles

Understanding the complex nature of biochemical processes in living cells is a fundamental pursuit of cell biologists and biochemists. The ability to probe these processes with fine control is of interest to DoD as it is integral for the development of novel therapeutics to protect the warfighter against new and emerging threats. Our laboratory has developed high quality nanomaterials with unique size-dependent photo-physical properties that make them superior to traditional fluorescent materials (organic dyes, fluorescent proteins) that have heretofore been used to probe these processes.

(A) OPH-PEML Schematic: Cotton substrate- white, PSS- orange, PEI- blue, OPH- pink (circles); (B) Top to bottom: OPH-PEML on cotton thread, thread woven into cloth, cloth bearing adsorbed yellow p-nitrophenol MPT degradation product after use to degrade MPT pesticide in solution. (C) Yellow p-nitrophenol degradation product in MPT solution after single treatment with OPH-PEML cotton cloth from (B). Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Films

Polyelectrolyte multilaters (PEMLs) are conformal, elctrostatically-bonded, thin films formed by alternately treating a substrate with solutions of oppositely-charged polyelectrolytes via low cost dipcoating or spray coating methods. PEMLs exhibit nanoscale thickness and structure control perpendicular to the substrate surface via choices of polyelectrolyte and deposition conditions (pH, ionic, strength, or temperature).