University of Massachusetts Amherst

Polymer Science and Engineering


James J. Watkins


Degree Information:
B.S., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987
M.S., Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 1988
Ph.D., Polymer Science and Engineering, University                      of Massachusetts Amherst, 1997

Mailing Address:
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room A616, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Phone: 413-545-2569


Fax: 413-545-0082

Center: Prof. Watkins is Director of the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, an NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center


Research Interests:
Macromolecular templates for functional device structures, materials synthesis and processing in supercritical fluids, phase behavior and transport in multi-component polymer systems, scalable fabrication of nanostructure materials.

Current Research:
We are a team of polymer scientists, chemical engineers and chemists with an interest in the synthesis, characterization and utilization of nanoscale and hybrid materials and the fabrication of devices that exploit the unique properties of the materials we create.  Our approaches include additive driven self-assembly in which interactions among each of the components of hybrid materials are designed so as to overcome barriers to creating well ordered systems containing high concentrations of nanoparticles, nanorods, fullerenes or functional organics and the creation of novel deposition techniques that are well suited to controlling structure at the nanoscale. We support this work with fundamental studies of phase behavior and transport in soft condensed matter systems and the kinetics of reactions used in materials synthesis.   The techniques developed are then adapted to practical fabrication/manufacturing schemes for device applications in energy generation and storage, flexible electronics, metamaterials and sensors. Some of our work involves a class of compressed gases called supercritical fluids (SCFs). SCFs can be viewed as a hybrid of liquid and gases that offer tunable solvent properties and unique advantages for the study and processing of nanoscale materials.



Honors and Distinctions:

  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2000-2005)
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering (1998-2003)
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (1998-2002)
  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award (1998 - 2000)
  • Unilever Award, American Chemical Society for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering (1998)
  • Arthur K. Doolittle Award, Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering, American Chemical Society (1996)