The main research themes of the group are mechanochemistry, supramolecular polymers, and liquid crystal based nanostructured materials.
An emerging topic of research is the interaction between mechanical forces and chemical reactivity. Force is used to activate dormant polymerization catalysts in a novel approach to self-healing materials, and molecular units that emit light when they break under stress are used to probe the details of failure in polymers with high temporal and spatial resolution.
Significant efforts in the group are directed towards the development of materials that mimic the mechanical properties of natural fibrous tissue, such as the extracellular matrix. The emphasis in this venture is on self-assembled hydrogels which show strain stiffening, nonlinear mechanical behavior that is essential for the proper functioning of many natural tissues.
Supramolecular and dynamic covalent interactions in polymers are used to develop new self-healing materials, with a focus on applications in additive manufacturing.
The dynamic order in columnar liquid crystals is being used to develop nanostructured materials such as ferroelectric materials and nanoporous membranes with a high density of perfectly monodisperse, nanometer sized pores.