“Cheap, functional, reliable things unleash the creativity of people who then build stuff that you could not imagine. There’s no way of predicting the Internet based on the first transistor” …. George M. Whitesides


About our research

Most Recent Publication



Our group is interested in frugal science/innovation, the ability to minimize cost and complexity while providing efficient solutions to better the human conditions. We are, by necessity, an inter-disciplinary physical-organic/materials research group interested in engineering soft matter, understanding surfaces and interfaces at all size scales. Our research focuses on the development of a generalized framework for engineering structures and ultimately functional devices via self-assembly and/or stacking of molecules, films, or layers of materials, to introduce new function(s) or utility.


We are grateful to the following organizations for supporting our work.



Recent news:


May 17, 2018 Boyce visits SUTD and gives a talk in Singapore!
May 2, 2018 Our work on ST3R composite has been awarded 2018 TechConnect Innovation award!
May 1, 2018 Boyce and team featured on the cover of Macromol rapid commn!
Apr. 16, 2018 Congratulations to Boyce, Andrew, Paul, Shawn, Souvik and Millicent for a paper accepted in MRS Advances!
Apr. 12, 2018 Congratulations to Joel, Boyce, Andrew et. al. for a paper accepted in ACSnano!!
Apr. 11, 2018 Congratulations to Andrew for winning the best oral presentation award at the GPSS symposium
Mar. 8, 2018 Martin featured as researcher of the month by ACS Poly.

Mar. 1, 2018 Check out Materials Today for more coverage on smart composite.
Feb. 20, 2018 Another coverage on smart composite. design-engineering.com
Feb. 19, 2018 More media coverage on smart composite on WHO Channel 13 News!
Feb. 15, 2018 Our work on smart composite (ST3R) is featured on phys.org!

Feb. 12, 2018 Congratulations to Boyce and team on accepted paper on Macromolecular Rapid Communications!
Feb. 8, 2018 Congratulations to Jiahao for receiving the IINSPIRE-LSAMP Mentor award!

Feb. 1, 2018 Congratulations to Mario, Boyce and team for an accepted paper in ACS Omega!
Jan. 23, 2018 Congratulations to Boyce, Ravi (Bartlett group) and team for an accepted paper in Materials Horizons!
Jan. 22, 2018 Our research on surface and interface engineering has received funding from John Deere!
Jan. 12, 2018 Prof. Thuo will be giving a seminar for the ECpE department on January 22nd on affordable sensors and devices on flexible platforms

Jan. 12, 2018 Congratulations to Jiahao, Atte, Joe and Boyce for a paper accepted in Phys. Chem Chem. Phys.
Jan. 4, 2018 Congratulations to Atte and Andrea for receiving funding support from the IINSPIRE-LSAMP program!
Jan. 4, 2018 Congratulations Boyce on passing the preliminary exam!
 Jan. 3, 2018 Read about Dr. Jiahao Chen, and his unique research experience as a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher. Iowa State Engineering News



Dec. 15, 2017 Congratulation to Dr. Jiahao Chen and Joel Cutinho on their commencement. All the best in your next ventures at Northwestern (Dr. Chen) and Silicon Valley (Joel)!
Dec. 4, 2017 Congratulations to Atte Kadoma for an Iowa Space Consortium grant award!
Nov. 28, 2017 We are on the cover of Langmuir!! Congratulations Jiahao and team

.Langmuir cover

Nov. 28, 2017 Congratulations to Dr. Jiahao Chen and Dr. Stephanie Oyola for wonderful postdoctoral offers at Northwestern University and Harvard University respectively.
Oct. 13, 2017 Congratulations to Jiahao and team for a paper accepted in J. Phy. Chem. C
Oct. 9, 2017 Congratulations to Atte Kadoma for winning 2nd place at the Annual LSMCE Conference in Indianapolis!

Sep. 5, 2017 Congratulations to Joel for successfully defending his MS thesis!
Aug. 4, 2017 Congratulations to Dr. Jiahao Chen for an invited feature article accepted in Langmuir!
Jul. 12, 2017 Congratulations to Jiahao Chen for successfully defending his PhD thesis! Way to go Dr. Chen.
May. 15, 2017 Welcomes Mario Fratzl, visiting scholar from Institut Néel – CNRS, Université Grenoble.
 May. 4, 2017  Stephanie graduates as PhD #1 from the group. Congratulations Stephanie.

 May. 3, 2017  Congratulations to Stephanie on being awarded a Rohit Trivedi Award
 May. 3, 2017  Congratulations to Jiahao Chen on being awarded a Melba and Karl Gschneidner Go for the Gold Student Research Prize
May. 2, 2017 Congratulations to Jiahao and colleagues for an accepted paper in ACSomega!
May. 2, 2017 Congratulations to Boyce and colleagues for an accepted paper in polymer chemistry!
Apr. 26, 2017 Delighted to have been honored with a faculty research excellence award by the department! Way to go team!

Apr. 4, 2017 Congratulations Stephanie for ‘Best 3MT’ presentation award!
Mar. 13, 2017 We are featured as a ‘must-see-presenter’ in the Spring 2017 ACS conference!

Mar. 7, 2017 Congratulations to Jiahao and team, our work is featured on the back cover of Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.

Feb. 4, 2017 Congratulations to Jiahao and team for their paper in Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.!
Feb. 4, 2017 Congratulations Boyce on being awarded the LSAMP-IINSPIRE mentor award!
Jan. 1, 2017 Congratulations to Stephanie and team for their paper accepted in Biomicrofluidics! Way to begin the year!



Dec. 19, 2016 Stephanie passes her prelims, Congratulations!
Dec. 15, 2016 Our research is named as one of top research advances in 2016 by the C&EN news (American Chemical Society)


Nov. 29, 2016 Congratulations Chris, our RIF award for work on separation is featured by the department!!
Nov. 29, 2016 Jiahao and Stephanie honored with ‘Research Excellence Award’ by the graduate college. Congratulations!
Nov. 29, 2016 Jiahao passes his prelims, congratulations!
Nov. 16, 2016 Our Research (through Safi-Tech) wins the 2016 technical development – materials award in Printed electronics at the IDTechEx

idtechex-award-heat-free solders

Aug. 31, 2016 Congratulations to Jiahao and Stephanie for their accepted papers in J. Mat. Chem. A, Langmuir, and RSC Advances! Way to start the semester!
Aug. 12, 2016 We made news again, this time on Ames tribune!
Aug. 8, 2016 We are in the news! See our coverage in NBC affiliate WHO13!
Aug. 5, 2016 Welcome Joseph Giroux, our 2016/17 McNair scholar!
Jun. 16, 2016 Our group has been awarded a regents RIF phase II grant!
May. 20, 2016 Our work is featured in BNR1 radio (Dutch)
May. 4, 2016 Welcome Gio, our summer LSAMP IINSPIRE intern.
May. 4, 2016 Congratulations to our graduating class, we wish you all the best in the next chapter of your career
May. 4, 2016 Congratulations to Jake who is headed to UC Berkeley!!
Mar. 11, 2016 More coverage, we are in the C&EN!

collage 2

Mar. 4, 2016 More news coverage of our heat-free soldering!


Mar. 4, 2016 We are in the news! Our paper on under-cooled particles is feature in Nature News!


Feb. 4, 2016 Congratulations to Simge, Ian and Jiahao for getting their paper accepted in scientific reports!


For older news, please check our archives page here



Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames.  Link

Microelectronic Research Center, Iowa State University, Ames.  Link

Biopolymers Biocomposites Research Team, Iowa State University, Ames.  Link

Center for Biopolymers & Biocomposites (CB2), Iowa State University, Ames.  Link

Center for Crop Utilization Research, Iowa State University, Ames.  Link


Positions Available:

We are looking for talented post-docs, graduate, and undergraduate students. Please contact Prof. Thuo (mthuo at iastate.edu).