Published on Thursday March 31, 2011
Associate professor Christopher Li has been awarded a three-year $352,319 National Science Foundation grant for "Janus Nanoparticle Nanocomposites."
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions. Most often he is depicted as having two heads looking simultaneously into the future and the past.
Named after the Roman God, Janus nanoparticles (JNPs) are objects at the nanometer scale possessing a noncentrosymmetric structure, often with a uniform core that is surrounded by compartmentalized corona. JNP properties can be readily controlled by tuning their two "faces".
In the proposed research, Li and his research team aim to use novel JNPs coated with polymer brushes to form polymer nanocomposites. JNP nanocomposites provide a unique and unprecedented model system to decouple the interface and structural effects on nanoparticle properties. The correlation between particle ensemble structure and mechanical properties of PNCs will therefore be unambiguously established. Research results from this project can then be used to guide future polymer nanocomposite design.