Department Seminar with Gregory Doerk: New Tools for Uncovering Self-Assembly Pathways in Polymer Blends


March 18, 2024    
3:20 pm - 4:10 pm


1227 Hoover
1227 Hoover Hall, Ames, IA, 50011

Event Type

Title: Headshot of Gregory DoerkNew Tools for Uncovering Self-Assembly Pathways in Polymer Blends

Presenter: Gregory Doerk, scientist at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Abstract: Understanding the implications of component formulation is crucial to industrial scale up and use of molecular, polymeric and composite materials. Each new additive, however, expands both the compositional dimensionality and the processing complexity, complicating material optimization but introducing new possibilities of synthesizing metastable materials with novel functional properties. New tools are needed to meet this challenge. This talk will discuss research at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials applying in situ characterization, combinatorial formulation, and machine-guided autonomous experimentation to accelerate the discovery and design of nanomaterials using self-assembling polymer blend films. These advances enable dramatic enhancements of self-assembly kinetics and the revelation of pathways to metastable nanomorphologies. I will conclude the talk by presenting progress in the development of a new platform combining programmable spraying, in situ X-ray scattering and machine learning to direct the scalable synthesis-by-assembly of nanoporous membranes.

Bio:  Gregory Doerk is a staff scientist at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), a Department of Energy (DOE) scientific user facility operated at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Dr. Doerk earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010.  Prior to joining the CFN, he performed postdoctoral research at IBM, investigating polymer self-assembly for integrated circuit patterning, and then worked as a research staff member at HGST, a Western Digital company.  Dr. Doerk is a recipient of the 2021 DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program Award.  His current research merges polymer self-assembly, new instrumentation and high-throughput methods to produce new materials for chemical separations, molecular templating and energy harvesting.