(June 7, 2019) Prof. Lou Madsen's promotion to full professor has been approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors at their June 3rd meeting, per VT News

Madsen’s research group explores structure, morphology, and transport in conducting polymers, ionic gels, ionic liquids, liquid crystals, and micelle/surfactant systems. These materials have applications in advanced batteries, water purification systems, and agents for drug delivery and medical imaging contrast. In 2013, Prof. Madsen won the department’s John C. Schug Research Award and has since made news headlines and been on TV and NPR for his developments and discoveries, most recently for discovering the double-helix structure of a high-strength polymer called “PBDT”. 

The discovery was published in Nature Communications and later as a news article in the MRS Bulletin. Now that researchers know PBDT’s structure, its potential for use can extend beyond batteries. Its rigidity ratio of 1,000 to 1 makes it one of the stiffest molecules (1D nanostructures) discovered so far, and means that you should only need a tiny amount in a reinforced composite to achieve comparable performance to conventional composites. In 2016, Madsen and his team combined PBDT with mobile ions to make a mechanically stiff electrolyte with good conductivity, a development that also made VT News headlines, TV and NPR in 2016.

With this history of successful research, we are excited to see what Lou will accomplish next. Congratulations Prof. Madsen!