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Welcome to UMass MRSEC on Polymers

Research in the UMass MRSEC on Polymers is organized into two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs), two Seed Projects, and one Focus Group. The IRG projects benefit from the interdisciplinary approach, where collaborative activities advances the research well-beyond what could be accomplished in an individual laboratory or through simple, binary collaborations. Fundamental challenges in polymer synthesis, physics, and assembly are addressed in Directed Polymer-Based Assemblies (IRG-I), which generates hierarchically ordered polymers and nanocomposites based on tailoring the chemistry and interfacial interactions of polymers and nanoparticles. Polymer Surface Instabilities (IRG-II) seeks to establish a materials design platform that identifies elastic instabilities as a means to control polymer surface morphology, arranging structures that arise from instabilities into hierarchies, and exploiting instability dynamics to generate rapid and selective response. The Seed Projects establish new areas of Center research, and integrate new investigators into the Center. Seed 1, Elucidating Nanoscale Structures and Dynamics of Materials by Single Molecule Imaging seeks to understand the behavior of macromolecular and nanocomposite assemblies with state-of-the-art imaging techniques. Seed 2, Materials for Mechanosensing, combines functional polymers with first principles engineering to control and advance our understanding of the interactions of living cells on materials substrates. Finally, a Focus Area has been established titled Advancing Theory in Graphene-based Hybrid Materials, which will connect current theoretical expertise on graphene to experimental efforts of Center investigators in graphene and other 2-D materials. These Seed and Focus Group projects were initiated in 2012, supplanting prior Seed and Superseed projects that were present from the outset of the Center in 2008.