“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.



2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Langmuir cover

Recent news:


July 5 New patent granted on control of interstitials in 3D printed materials! patent #13 with Pete Collins group

June 26 New patent granted on mechano-chemical separation!! patent #12 granted to the group.

May 17, 2022 Congratulations to Shawn, Scarlett and Jiahao on accepted paper in Angew. Chemie! Multi-year effort to fully resolve the Whitesides-Porter discrepancy.
Apr. 28, 2022 Congratulations Shawn, his paper is featured on the cover of J. Phy. Chem. C!

JPCC cover

Mar. 29, 2022 The group (with Prof. Ward) is awarded a $1M grant to develop methods for ‘recovery at point of disposal’!
Mar. 28, 2022 Congratulations to Alana for being named a ‘brown fellowship’ awardee!!
Mar. 28, 2022 Congratulations Shawn on accepted paper that will feature on the cover of JPC C!!
Feb. 15, 2022 Our paper on ‘beyond Hume-Rothery rules’ is accepted in ACS applied nano materials!!
Jan 18, 2022 New patent on undercooled particles issued!!

Jan 2, 2022 Martin awarded the ‘Schafer 2050 professorship’ by the college of engineering
Aug 11, 2021 Great re-union on the ICANX stage; former PhD students, four friends, colleagues and collaborators talking great science! Join us on Friday as Prof. Nijhuis gives a talk on the future of molecular electronics

  Former student, Dr. Julia Chang takes on the world to share a story of passion, persistence and an undying curiosity that allowed her to put together an amazing body of work under non-ideal conditions. SMMT is very proud of her success!

Aug 13, 2021 Martin is a panelist at the ICAN-X talks

July 15, 2021 Congratulations Paul for successfully defending your PhD thesis.
June 15, 2021 Congratulations Shawn for successfully defending your PhD thesis.
June 1, 2021 Congratulations to Souvik for successfully defending your PhD thesis (jointly mentored with Prof. Cademartiri)
May 18, 2021 Martin is named to the international advisory board of Angewandte Chemie!! Congratulations Martin.
May 10, 2021 Congratulations Shawn for a postdoc offer weeks to thesis defense!!
May 10, 2021 Collaborative work with Jiang’s lab is accepted in Nanoscale Advances! Congratulations Emily and Shawn!
Mar 23, 2021 We are on the inside front cover of Material Horizons!! Featured on:

Mar 01, 2021 We are on the cover of the current issue of Angew. Chemie! Congratulations Andrew and co-authors.

Feb. 26, 2021 Congratulations Paul and co-authors, for a book chapter accepted in ‘Biopolymers and composites’ by S. Madbouly!
Feb. 17, 2021
Congratulations to Julia and co-authors for a paper accepted in Angew. Chemie!!

Jan. 19, 2021 Congratulations to Andrew and co-authors for a paper accepted in Material horizons
Jan 13, 2021 Congratulations!! our Angew. Chem. paper will appear on the front cover in an upcoming issue!!


Dec. 30, 2020 What a way to end the year! Congratulations Andrew and co-authors for a paper accepted in Angew. Chem.!!
Dec. 20, 2020 Congratulations Andrew for a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley/LBNL!!
Dec. 8, 2020 Congratulations Andrew for receiving the Research Excellence Award!
Dec. 4, 2020 Martin is giving an ‘ACSnano rising star’ talk at the ICan-X talk forum

Nov. 20, 2020 Our work is featured on the back cover of Advanced Materials Interfaces!


Nov. 14, 2020 Celebrating 2 Ph.D. graduates from this semester. Dr. Chang and Dr. Martin!

Nov. 10, 2020 Check our the cover for our perspective article (part of up and coming series)

Nov. 5, 2020 Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Martin on passing his PhD thesis defense!! way to go after 6-for-6 journal covers to finish the thesis.
Oct. 19, 2020 Congratulations to Dr. Julia Chang (co-mentored with Prof. Cademartiri) on passing her PhD thesis defense!
Oct. 10, 2020 Congratulations Andrew for receiving the Karl Gschneider Go for Gold award!

Sept. 17, 2020 Congratulations Martin for receiving the patent award at Iowa State CoE’s Fall 2020 Convocation

Sept. 14, 2020 Congratulations Andrew for an “up & Coming” perspective accepted in Chem. Mater.!
Sept. 10, 2020 Our work on polydispersity driven printing is out on Advanced Materials Interfaces
Sept. 8, 2020 Our work is featured on the cover of ACS Materials Letters and as a frontispiece in Angew!!

Sept. 1, 2020
The group was awarded two patents on Self-stiffening materials and e-waste recycling.

Aug. 31, 2020
BIOMAP featured on Forbes Magazine!
Aug. 27, 2020 BIOMAP got covered in Iowa State News.
Aug. 24, 2020 Congratulations to Andrew and co-workers for a paper accepted in Advanced Materials Interfaces!! A collaboration with Ward’s group.
Aug. 17, 2020 Congratulations to Boyce, Andrew and co-authors on their paper in ACS Matt. Letts.!  A collaboration with @Rossini and Gong Labs. First paper from the group on catalysis!
Aug. 13, 2020 Martin got quoted in a NY Times article!
July. 14, 2020 Congratulations to Julia, Andrew and team on a ‘hot paper’ paper published in Angew. Chemie reporting extension of soft-lithography to solid metals.
Apr. 29, 2020 Congratulations Andrew on receiving the GPSS research award!

Apr. 4, 2020 Congratulations Martin on getting tenure!
Apr. 1, 2020 Thanks to all SMMT lab members (current and former), our hard work has lead to promotion of our PI to associate professor with tenure. Congratulations!!
Mar. 12, 2020 Congratulations to Atte who is headed to Harvard in the fall!
Jan. 30, 2020 Another coverage on chameleon metals on Advanced Science News
Jan. 13, 2020 Our work on Chameleon metals is featured on Iowa State News, EurekAlert (AAAS) and Phys.org!
Jan. 7, 2020 Great beginning of the decade. We have a new granted patent!

Jan 2, 2020 Our work on Chameleon metals is featured in this week’s Angewandte Chemie front cover.


Dec. 13, 2019 We’re featured on this year’s C&EN‘s Delight of the Year!

Dec. 6, 2019 Our work on Chameleon metals is featured in Angewandte Chemie front cover.
Nov. 19, 2019 Congratulations Andrew and team for an article accepted in Angewandte Chemie!
Oct. 30, 2019 Excited to receive continuing funding from John Deere and new grant (with SAFI-TECH) from ARL through SEMI/FlexTech!
Oct. 1, 2019 Our work is featured in this week’s Advanced Functional Material inside back cover.

Sept 27, 2019
Our work featured in DesignNews, Congratulations Andrew and team!
July 31, 2019 Check out our news coverage on WHO-TV Channel 13!

July 24, 2019 Our article on heat-free conductive interconnects is featured on C&EN, Iowa State News and Electronics Weekly!

July 6, 2019
Congratulations Dr. Boyce and team for a paper (in collaboration with Rossini group) accepted in Nanoscale!
July 3, 2019 Congratulations to Andrew and team for an article accepted in advanced functional materials!
May 28, 2019
A wonderful end to the spring semester! Made even better by two granted patents!

May 2, 2019 Congratulations Atte for receiving the 2019 Goldwater scholar award 
Apr. 11, 2019 Our collaborative work with Bratlie’s lab is accepted for publication! Congratulations Dr. Chang and co-authors!
Apr. 10, 2019 Congratulations Andrew for ‘Best oral presentation’ award at the GPSRC 2019 conference!

Mar. 03, 2019 Congratulations Dr. Boyce  Chang for a postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. Xu at UC Berkeley! Wishing you all the best.
Feb. 22, 2019 Our collaborative work with 3SR labs and G2E lab (Grenoble, France)-on rapid prototyping with smart (ST3R) composite, is accepted for publication!
Feb. 7, 2019
Our collaborative work on self-stiffening ((ST3R) composites is featured in Material Horizons most popular articles. Congratulations Boyce and co-authors.
Feb. 6, 2019 Congratulations Jiahao, Thomas, Atte and Boyce. Their paper on interface odd-even effects is featured on PCCP 2018 HOT Articles
Jan. 24, 2019 Congratulations Martin on winning the IINSPIRE LSAMP Excellence in Mentoring Award!


Dec. 14, 2018 Congratulations Dr. Chang! Well deserved!

Nov 26, 2018 Prof. Thuo presents an invited plenary talk on our work on frugal engineering at the UN blue economy conference.

Nov 5, 2018 Dr Boyce Chang is featured in CoE news for his teaching and mentoring awards. Congratulations!
Oct 31, 2018 Congratulations Dr. Boyce Chang on successfully defending your PhD thesis!
Oct 5, 2018 Congratulations Boyce Chang for well-deserved recognition through the graduate college ‘Research excellence’ and ‘Teaching Excellence’ awards!
Sept 12, 2018
Our collaborative work with SMS lab is featured in cyclone engineering research.
Sept 5, 2018 A collaborative paper with prof. Yoon’s OMML group is accepted in JACS!
Aug 28, 2018 Congratulations Martin for getting the Best Paper in the Coll:nanomaterials session at ACS National Meeting Boston!
Aug 20, 2018 Our paper (a collaboration with Prof. Yoon’s OMML group) is accepted in J. Phys. Chem. Lett.
Aug 17, 2018 We are delighted to receive support from U.S. department of energy through a joint proposal with Sep-All.
Aug 17, 2018 From Stanford to space! Kudos to Atte for a 2018-2019 Iowa Space Consortium fellowship!
Aug 7, 2018 Congratulations to Andrew for passing the preliminary exam!
Aug 3, 2018 Congratulations to Andrew for ‘best poster award’ at the Nano@IAState conference
Aug 3, 2018 Congratulation to Boyce, for being selected to give a graduate student talk at the Nano@IAState conference
July 19, 2018 Congratulations Paul, Andrew and Boyce for a paper accepted in Frontiers in Chemistry!
July 5, 2018
A collaborative work with Badu-Tawiah’s group is published in Anal. Chem.!
June 22, 2018 Thanks tec21 for supporting a month long visit to our collaborators at 3SR Labs
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. Phys. 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).

Contact Information

Prof. Martin Thuo
Materials Science and Engineering
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Ph. 515-294-8581