Soft Materials Characterization Laboratory

Anna Kiyanova, Paul F. Nealey, Doug Weibel

Fig. 1 New GPC instrument in the Soft Materials Laboratory

This NSEC sponsored facility has filled a critical need on Campus for characterization of soft materials and Polymers:
Equipment includes:

*Gel Permeation Chromatography System
*Differential Scanning Calorimeter
*Thermo Gravimetric Analysis
*Schlenk lines for polymer synthesis (anionic, others)
*Zeta Potential Analyzer, Spin coater/vacuum ovens/photo crosslinker.

Impact: The SML is used heavily by biomedical researchers (membranes, artificial tissue). Polymer and liquid crystal researchers. New this year are 2 groups from Engineering Physics looking at phase transitions in inorganic materials.

Growth: In one year, patrons increased from 3 groups with seven students to 11 groups with 26 users, and 3 industrial companies.

Future Expansion of SML Capability:
The measurement of mechanical properties and fictionalization of nano scale materials (including elasticity, molecular (un)folding, ligand-receptor interactions, etc.) is of growing interest to our researchers and industrial partners. The laboratory will acquire a BIO-AFM in 2009 to enable such studies (figure 2)

Fig. 2 BIO-AFM and a fluorescence Image overlaid on 3D rendered topography from scanned AFM image.