My research program focuses on the fundamental polymer physics of tough hydrogels and elastomers and their applications in electronic devices for energy and biomedical applications. Tough hydrogels, synthetic water-containing polymers that mimics superior mechanical properties of natural hydrogels such as muscles and cartilages, draw tremendous applications in unprecedented applications, such as bioimplantable electronics, sensors/actuators in soft machines, surgical glues, and gel electrolytes for energy storage devices. The fundamental polymer science, mostly based on the discipline of polymer physics, provides understanding of working principles of these important engineering materials (for example, what is the molecular mechanism of dramatic toughening of these soft polymeric materials or how do water molecules behave at freezing temperature when they interact with polymer chains and salt ions). These understanding provides the material design criteria for important energy and biomedical applications. In addition, tough hydrogel and advanced elastomer’s soft and resilient mechanical properties and self-healing ability enable many unforeseen applications in Internet-of-Things (IoT) and wearable healthcare technologies.
My program also focus on biomedical applications of flexible and printed electronics by developing wearable technologies. Polymer and 2D material based coating techniques for fabric based electronics is also an actively ongoing direction.
- Electromeric composites for medical devices
- Aging and end-of-life sensors for protective textiles
- E-textiles for neuroplasticity
- Gel polymer electrolytes
- Microcantilever based sensors
- and any related fundamental studies on hydrogels and elastomers
Keywords: Tough hydrogels, Elastomers, Soft bioelectronics, Flexible and Printed electronics, Renewable resources, Polymer physics, Nanocomposites, Functional soft materials