Our perceptions of soft materials (e.g., polymers or liquid crystals) rely mostly on bulk macroscopic properties and on observations made after synthesis and processing are complete. However, to best design soft materials we must gain insights into their structure and dynamics on length scales ranging from molecular to micron-scale, as all these details govern macroscopic behavior. We use multi-modal nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to investigate and quantify molecular motion, structure, dynamics, and morphology. Thus, we hope to span the molecular and macroscopic worlds, both to give a deeper picture of soft material behavior and to inform synthesis and processing efforts.
Our diverse research group combines perspectives from Physical, Polymer, and Analytical Chemistry. We make detailed measurements, develop physical and chemical models, and design and build custom instrumentation and new materials.
Specific interests in our group include:
- Investigating the roles of orientational order and transport in the behaviors of polymers, with applications in batteries, fuel cells, water purification, mechanical actuators, and theranostic agents that combine drug delivery and MRI contrast.
- Exploring local dynamics and molecular correlations in ionic liquids, liquid crystals, and other partially structured liquids.
- Using our fundamental understanding to create new materials (e.g., ionic liquid-polymer gels for battery electrolytes) and to enhance macroscopic properties such as conductivity or optical refraction.
- Correlating bulk polymer or complex fluid deformation (rheology) with molecular and micron-scale details via rheo-NMR.
- Developing and combining an array of NMR and other techniques (SAXS, microscopy, modeling) to gain deep perspectives on soft materials. We focus on use of gradient NMR methods such as microimaging, diffusometry, and electrophoretic NMR to measure molecular motions and morphology, as well as 2H NMR to measure molecular alignment
- “Solid-state rigid-rod polymer composite electrolytes with nanocrystalline lithium ion pathways” Ying Wang, Robert Kerr, Curt J. Zanelotti, Wang Kay Han, Liyu Jin, Maria Forsyth, Theo J. Dingemans and Louis A. Madsen. Nature Materials (2021), 20, 1265-163. doi: 10.1038/s41563-021-00995-4.
- “Local Water Transport in Rubbery versus Glassy Separations Membranes and Analogous Solutions” Andrew G. Korovich, Kevin Chang, Geoffrey M. Geise, and Louis A. Madsen. Macromolecules (2021), 54, 11187–11197. doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c01746.
- “Room Temperature to 150 °C Lithium Metal Batteries Enabled by a Rigid Molecular Ionic Composite Electrolyte" Deyang Yu, Xiaona Pan, Joshua E. Bostwick, Curt J. Zanelotti, Linqin Mu, Ralph H. Colby, Feng Lin, Louis A. Madsen. Advanced Energy Materials (2021), 11, 2003559. doi: 10.1002/aenm.202003559.
- "Strong Variation of Micelle–Unimer Coexistence as a Function of Core Chain Mobility" Ryan J. Carrazzone, Xiuli Li, Jeffrey C. Foster, Shravan Uppala, Candace E. Wall, Alan R. Esker, Louis A. Madsen, John B. Matson. Macromolecules (2021), 54, 6975-6981. doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c00635.
- “Quantifying Drug Cargo Partitioning in Block Copolymer Micelle Solutions” Xiuli Li, Veera Venkata Shravan Uppala, Tyler J.Cooksey, Megan L. Robertson, and Louis A. Madsen. ACS Applied Polymer Materials (2020), 2, 3749–3755. doi: 10.1021/acsapm.0c00694.
- “Relating Geometric Nanoconfinement and Local Molecular Environment to Diffusion in Ionic Polymer Membranes” Rui Zhang, Ying Chen, Diego Troya, and Louis A. Madsen. Macromolecules (2020) 53, 3296–3305. doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.9b02755.
- “Double Helical Conformation and Extreme Rigidity in a Rodlike Polyelectrolyte” Ying Wang, Yadong He, Zhou Yu, Jianwei Gao, Stephanie ten Brinck, Carla Slebodnick, Gregory B. Fahs, Curt J. Zanelotti, Maruti Hegde, Robert B. Moore, Bernd Ensing, Theo J. Dingemans, Rui Qiao, and Louis A. Madsen. Nature Communications (2019) 10, 801. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08756-3.
- “Multiscale Tortuous Diffusion in Anion and Cation Exchange Membranes” Lam M. Thieu, Liang Zhu, Andrew G. Korovich, Michael A. Hickner, and Louis A. Madsen. Macromolecules (2019) 52, 24-35. doi:10.1021/acs.macromol.8b02206.
- “Highly Conductive and Thermally Stable Ion Gels with Tunable Anisotropy and Modulus” Ying Wang, Ying Chen, Jianwei Gao, Hyun Gook Yoon, Liyu Jin, Maria Forsyth, Theo J. Dingemans and Louis A. Madsen. Advanced Materials (2016) 28, 2571–2578. doi: 10.1002/adma.201505183.
- NSF CAREER Award, 2008
- B.A. Grinnell College (Iowa), 1994
- Ph.D. California Institute of Technology NSF & Dow Fellowships, 2002
- Postdoctoral Associate, University of North Carolina, 2002–2006