analytical chemistry, interface science, intermolecular forces, vibrational spectroscopy, electrochemistry, probe microscopy, surface science, PMIRRAS, Raman, Ellipsometry, Polymer Films, Urban Films, CO2 Recyling, Ionic Liquid, RTIL, Biofilm, Adhesion, ultra-smooth surfaces, nanotextures
Research in my group combines modern analytical techniques with materials and physical chemistry to create new understanding of the molecular-level behavior at interfaces. Current and start-up projects represent a long list of important chemical systems that are both fundamentally intriguing and extremely relevant to current needs of our technology-driven society. Advances in these areas will allow predictive design of new, improved devices in a range of applications including energy production, polymeric materials, corrosion science, environmental remediation, microfluidics, and biomedical implanted devices. A few selected projects are outlined briefly below. Experimental techniques encompass surface-sensitive optical spectroscopies, non-linear spectroscopies, probe microscopies, electrochemical methods, tensiometry, and novel sample preparation techniques, all targeted at revealing the interfacial properties of otherwise opaque chemical systems.
Research Area 1: Intermolecular Interactions of Solvent with Soft-Material Interfaces
This project aims to develop the understanding of complex chemical interactions between solvent molecules and polymer surfaces, and will impact fundamental surface science as well as applied materials chemistry. Employing the novel sampling geometry, dynamic dewetting, ultra thin fluid layers are created on a carefully selected set of polymer surfaces. These thin films are subsequently probed by spectroscopic methods to reveal chemical information specific to the interfacial environment. By tuning the ratio of surface-fluid and fluid-fluid interactions, the role of van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonding, micro-viscocity, and other chemical phenomena can be more adequately understood and applied to challenges in chemistry and materials science.
Research Area 2: Fluid Layer Templating at Ionic Liquid / Advanced Materials Interfaces
Ionic liquids are incredibly interesting and useful materials, and advanced study on their properties is just beginning. At an interface, ionic liquids may contain up to ten discrete anion/cation organized bilayers. The probing of these intriguing interfaces is largely limited to probe microscopies because of the high Raman and fluorescence backgrounds of the ionic liquid bulk solution. The Shaw group uses advanced spectroscopic techniques and sampling geometries to exclusively examine the interfacial regions on device relevant materials including single crystal metals, transparent conducting oxides, and graphene. A primary goal of this work is the implementation of ionic liquids in the remediation of atmospheric carbon dioxide and subsequent electrochemical reduction of CO2 to useful materials such as ethylene or propane.
Research Area 3: Gas phase Adsorption of Pollutants onto Hydrated Surfaces
This avenue of research aims to examine structural changes brought about at an aqueous/solid interface by the inclusion of trace atmospheric or biological ‘pollutant’ molecules. There has been extensive research published on water at extended interfaces, but little with respect to the changing molecular architecture when the interfacial intermolecular forces are complicated by the presence of additional species in the thin aqueous layers frequently observed on environment surfaces in ambient conditions or in biological systems. This will be ground breaking research relevant to many atmospheric, environmental, corrosion science, and biological applications.
Shaw, Scott K.; Pemberton, Jeanne E. "Thin Film Interfacial Water Structure over a Tunable
Hydrophilic Substrate." To be submitted.
Shaw, Scott K.; Berna, A.; Feliu, J.; Nichols, R. J.; Jacob, T.; Schiffrin, D. J.; "Electrochemically Driven Adsorption of Carbon Monoxide in Axially Coordinated Sites on Single Crystal Copper Electrodes." Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13 (12), 5242‐5251