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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Nano- and Meso-structured Polymeric Materials and Composites


Materials & Manufacturing, RX/Functional Materials Division

RO# Location
13.25.01.B4279 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337817


Name E-mail Phone
Vaia, Richard A. 937.255.9209


Polymeric materials with multiphase morphologies on the nano (1-100 nm) and mesoscale (100-500 nm) offer exciting opportunities for high-end, multifunctional applications, as well as enabling never-before-realized materials with unique combinations of electrical, optical, and structural properties. Mesoscopic structure dominates physical properties ranging from toughness to optical clarity with examples in nature (Abalone shell) as well as synthetic (block-copolymer) systems. We are interested in tailoring the ultimate properties of nano- and meso-structured polymer blends by controlling the dispersion and ordering of inorganic and organic nanoscale phases in conventional polymer and biopolymer matrices through self-assembly, molecular recognition, templating, and processing. Elucidating the fundamental principles underlying processing-structure-property relationships as well as establishing techniques to control the mesostructure are critical to tailoring multifunctional materials. Principle interests include in-situ formation of secondary phases within a polymer matrix, utilization of biopolymers and bio-inspired concepts for nanoscale organization, dispersion of ultrahigh aspect ratio nanophases in polymer melts, and the influence of external stimuli (shear, electric field, and magnetic field) on the final ordered structure. These fundamental studies are the foundation of many ongoing technology efforts including hybrid optical matrices, nonlinear-optical devices, high-performance conducting composites, self-passivating/self healing space materials, next-generation ablatives, and multifunctional barrier films. Techniques include scattering (optical, x ray, and neutron including synchrotron radiation experiments for real-time characterization), electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, rheology, standard linear and nonlinear optical characterization, bulk and surface spectroscopy, modeling, processing, and synthesis.


Biomaterials; Composite; Mesostructure; Molecular recognition; Nanocomposites; Nanomaterials; Nanoparticles; Nanostructure; Nonlinear optics; Photonics; Polymer; Scattering; Self-assembly; Templating;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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