Li Batteries

We are working on solid block copolymers and glass-polymer composites that selectively transport lithium ions. These materials are used to build all-solid rechargeable lithium batteries. Electrolytes are characterized by tools such as ac impedance, NMR, electron microscopy, X-ray absorption and scattering, and hard X-ray microtomography.

Biofuel Purification

Biofuel production using lignocellulosic feedstock is one of the most promising renewable energy resources. Fuel grade bioethanol is currently obtained in a batch process by fermentation followed by distillation. We are developing block copolymer membranes for efficient purification of fermentation broth.

Drug Capture

This project aims to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy administration. We are designing and synthesizing polymer membranes for capturing doxorubicin, a drug used in the treatment of liver cancer. The drug is introduced at the artery feeding the liver, and our polymer is placed in the vein that receives blood exiting from the liver. The ideal polymer would capture all of the drug that exits the liver. The drug capturing polymer is introduced in the vein using minimally invasive surgical methods under the supervision of Dr. Steven Hetts (UCSF).


Peptoid Self-Assembly

Our long-term objective is to predict the relationship between monomer sequence and molecular self-assembly. Amphiphilic molecules such as surfactants and proteins generally form closed structures with exposed hydrophilic groups and hydrophobic groups “tucked in”. In contrast, amphiphilic peptoid molecules synthesized under the supervision of Ron Zuckermann (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LBNL) form tubes with radii of about 4 nm wherein both hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups are exposed to water. Images of the tubes were obtained under the supervision of Ken Downing (LBNL).

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