CBE Seminar: Ionic Liquid/Block Polymer Nanocomposites: Remarkably Versatile, Functional Materials

Timothy P. Lodge
Regents Professor
University of Minnesota

Ionic liquids are an emerging class of solvents with an appealing set of physical attributes. These include negligible vapor pressure, impressive chemical and thermal stability, tunable solvation properties, high ionic conductivity, and wide electrochemical windows. In particular, the non-volatility renders ionic liquids practical components of devices, but they require structure-directing agents to become functional materials. Block polymers provide a convenient platform for achieving desirable nanostructures by self-assembly, with lengthscales varying from a few nanometers up to several hundred nanometers. Furthermore, ionic liquids and polymer blocks can be selected to impart exquisitely tunable thermosensitivity, by exploiting either upper or lower critical solution transitions (UCSTs and LCSTs). In selected cases, it is also possible to prepare photoreversible and photopatternable systems. Overall, by combining designed block polymers and ionic liquids we have demonstrated materials with superior performance for a remarkably diverse set of applications. These include micelles for extraction, nanoreactors for catalysis, gate dielectrics in organic transistors, electrochromic and electroluminescent gels, and membranes for gas separation, ion batteries, and fuel cells.

Tim Lodge graduated from Harvard in 1975 with a B.A. cum laude in Applied Mathematics. He completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in 1980, and then spent 20 months as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NIST. Since 1982 he has been on the Chemistry faculty at Minnesota, and in 1995 he also became a Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science. In 2013 he was named a Regents Professor, the University’s highest academic rank.

In 1994 he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). He received the Arthur K. Doolittle Award from the PMSE Division of the ACS in 1998, and in 2004 he received the APS Polymer Physics Prize. He was elected to Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he received the International Scientist Award from the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, in 2009. He was the recipient of the 2010 Prize in Polymer Chemistry from the ACS, and was also elected a Fellow by the ACS in 2010. In 2012 he received the Minnesota Award from the Minnesota Section of the ACS, and the Postbaccalaureate, Graduate and Professional Education Award from the University of Minnesota. He was honored with the Hermann Mark Award of the Division of Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society, in 2015, and in 2016 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Since 2001 he has been the Editor of the ACS journal Macromolecules. In 2011 he became the founding Editor for ACS Macro Letters. He has served as Chair of the Division of Polymer Physics, APS (1997–8), and as Chair of the Gordon Research Conferences on Colloidal, Macromolecular and Polyelectrolyte Solutions (1998) and Polymer Physics (2000). Since 2005 he has been Director of the NSF-supported Materials Research Science & Engineering Center at Minnesota. He has authored or co-authored over 350 papers in the field of polymer science, and advised or co-advised over 65 PhD students. His research interests center on the structure and dynamics of polymer liquids, including solutions, melts, blends, and block copolymers, with particular emphases on self-assembling systems using rheological, scattering and microscopy techniques.

For more information, please view the flyer.

This seminar is sponsored by the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame.