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In many arrangements of matter, it is the phase interfaces, more than the bulk composition, that are critical to the material structure and behavior. The surfaces of solids offer a platform for functional coating; coatings may be deposited from vapor, applied as a volatile liquid, or assembled from solution onto the solid, in a pattern determined by the molecular properties. This self-assembly tendency may be exploited to arrange desired patterns that have operational properties. Interfacial effects are also responsible for stable dispersions of immiscible phases, leading to fluids with complex microstructure. Other structured fluids arise from large molecules whose orientation in the solvent is constrained by molecular size and properties. In solids, tight control of pore size, grain size, chemical composition, and crystal structure offer a striking range of catalytic, mechanical, and electromagnetic properties. Structure is the basis for function, and by manipulating tiny length scales, the resulting nanostructure makes available new capabilities, and thus new technologies and products.

In the Department, you will find expertise in colloids, emulsions, surfactants, structured fluids, thin films, liquid crystals, sol-gel processing, surface patterning, nanostructured materials, surface chemistry, and many other areas of nanotechnology and surface science. View the pages of individual faculty members to learn about recent and ongoing research.

Daniel Blankschtein Professor 617.253.4594
colloid and interface science, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, environmental and biomedical aspects of structured fluids, bioseparations, transdermal drug delivery
Karen K. Gleason Professor 617.253.5066
chemical vapor deposition, nuclear magnetic resonance
Paula T. Hammond Associate Professor 617.258.7577
macromolecular design and synthesis, directed assembly using surface templates, block copolymers, asymmetric morphologies, liquid crystalline polymeric materials, nanoscale assembly and fabrication
T. Alan Hatton Professor 617.253.4588
transport phenomena, separation processes, microemulsions, colloids
Klavs F. Jensen Professor 617.253.4589
processing of materials, chemical vapor deposition, microfabrication, surface and gas-phase reaction kinetics, reaction engineering, mathematical modeling
Herbert H. Sawin Professor 617.253.4570
directional plasma etching, dry wafer cleaning, kinetics, surface science, process modeling
Bernhardt L. Trout Associate Professor 617.258.5021
kinetics of aqueous and biological systems, protein stabilization, nucleation of pharmaceutical and clathrate hydrates,theoretical heterogeneous catalysis, molecular-level design of products and processes, emissions control and sustainable development