Hoagland Research Group

Hoagland Research Group


Professor & Department Head
Phone: 413-577-1513
Email: hoagland@mail.pse.umass.edu

Degree Information:

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, 1980
M.A. Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1981
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1986

Mailing Address:

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room: A513, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Research Interests

Polyelectrolytes, Polymer Solutions and Gels, Advanced Polymer Characterization Methods, Polymer-Based Sensors of Water Quality, Single Molecule Visualizations, Aqueous Polymer, Polymers in Ionic Liquids

Current Research

"Soft materials" range from solutions and gels to suspensions, emulsions, and pastes. Projects in the Hoagland group examine polymer structure and dynamics in these materials using a range of experimental methods. The typical goal is to understand the behaviors of individual polymer molecules, i.e., their average conformation, where and how they move, or how rapidly they deform/recover when challenged with an external force.

Current projects focus specifically on (i) polyelectrolytes (highly charged polymers), (ii) polymers in ionic liquids (salts that melt near or below room temperature), (iii) imaging of the dynamics of confined polymers, and (iv) carbon nanotube membranes. Some highlights: Due to ionic liquid nonvolatility, soft materials wet by these liquids can be imaged in the high vacuum environment of the electron microscope, affording opportunities for the in situ and real time tracking of nanoscale structure and dynamics. Such imaging is impossible with ordinary liquids. Frames extracted from image sequences for two ionic liquid systems are given (F1,F2). The (F1) SEM image shows crystallized monolayers on the surface of an ionic liquid containing nanoparticles; crystal melting into the liquid was observed as temperature rises. The (F2) TEM image illustrates the network of a poly(oxyethylene) gel; gelation here is driven by polymer crystallization.

Three frames of a fluorescence microscopy image sequence (F3) revealing the conformations of a flexible polymer (large DNA) moving through a chromatography column (beads not visible). Driven by solvent flow (toward upper left), the molecule initially “entangles” around a contact point between two beads, and then through a "pulley-like" motion about this constraint, extends in the flow direction before final release.

Ionic liquids have attractive properties as room temperature media for protein storage and shipping. The dynamic light scattering correlation function (F4) was obtained for the protein lysozyme in the neat room temperature ionic liquid [EMIM][EtSO4]. The form of the decay reveals that the protein molecularly dissolves in the neat salt, retaining a size comparable to that in aqueous buffer. Circular dichroism and infrared spectroscopy reveal the extent to which the native conformation is retained; upon subsequent transfer to buffer, lysozyme’s native activity is recovered.

Honors and Distinctions:

  • Sigma Chi Distinguished National Lecturer, 2004-2005
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2003
  • Director- Light Scattering Facility
  • The OMNOVA Solutions Foundation Signature University Award for Outstanding Research, 2000
  • Organizing Committee, International Symposium on Polyelectrolytes, 2004
  • IBM Faculty Development Award, 1986
  • Co-coordinator of the MRSEC’s IRG III, Aqueous Polymer Assembly
  • Invited Speaker: Gordon Conferences on Polymers (2x), Polymer Physics, Membranes, Scattering and Macromolecular Solutions, and Ion-Containing Polymers (2x); APS March Meeting (2x); International Symposium on Polymer Analysis and Characterization (2x); Heraeus Conference on Nano-Physics of DNA; John Ferry Symposium; ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry; Telluride Workshop on Polymer Theory vs. Polymer Experiment (2x); Electrophoresis Society Annual Meeting; AIChE Annual Meeting; First Conference on Polymers and Ionic Liquids