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Current Projects

More information about current projects is available at the Emergent Nanomaterials Laboratory Website and the ATLAS website.

Tech Tattoos

My lab is engineering tattoo inks that give new abilities to humans. We engineer tattoo particles that change the function of skin, endowing it with extra sensing abilities or physical properties. See this work featured in Inked Magazine, CBS News, Colorado Pubic Radio, KUNC, Newsy, Daily Mail, and CU Boulder Today


Molecular Machines

We are designing new molecular recognition motifs for the synthesis of mechanically bonded molecules, and building molecular machines with unprecedented function.

Slide-Ring Polymers

We work on a novel class of so-called slide-ring polymers that possess a “beads-on-a-string” architecture, in which the motion of the beads on the polymer strings endow these materials (e.g., gels, glasses) with remarkable mechanical and rheological properties.

LEGO Lab Automation

We are building an inexpensive LEGO-based robot that will automate many laboratory procedures, saving time, money, and energy in the lab.

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Previous Research

Previous Research

Postdoctoral Research

Rotaxane Bioconjugation

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We have developed near-quantitative synthetic protocols for the aqueous synthesis of rotaxanes and protein-mounted rotaxanes by employing efficient bioconjugation reactions.

Stimulus-Responsive Rotaxane Contrast Agents

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We have developed rotaxanes that release cucurbit[6]uril, a contrast agent for an emerging NMR and MRI technology based on hyperpolarized xenon, in response to chemical and biochemical signals.

Graduate Research

Molecular Muscles: Daisy CHain Rotaxanes

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The convergence of sophisticated mechanically bonded molecular architectures with the stimulus-responsive properties of their underlying donor-acceptor recognition motifs has allowed us to prepare macromolecules that expand and contract (similar to the repeating units of muscle tissue) in response to a variety of energy sources, including electrochemical, thermal, and mechanical stimuli.


Molecular Flasks: Gated Ring-Threading

We have carried out ring-threading reactions inside of self-assembled molecular flasks based on metallo-organic coordination cages. The flasks are “gated” in the sense that they only allow the rings to enter in the presence of excessive ions, not unlike many ion channels in the membranes of living cells.


Self-Assembling Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Photoconductors

We systematically studied a series of semiconducting surfactants that can be co-assembled with ZnO into photoconducting inorganic-organic hybrid lamellar nanostructures by electrodeposition. We unconvered molecular design rules for controlling the long-range orientation of these nanoscuctures.

Molecular Accordions: Oligorotaxane Foldamers

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We have designed a series of oligorotaxanes in which the axle of the dumbbell adopts a well-defined folding pattern as it “snakes” its way through a series of rings. These compounds behave like accordions that can be mechanically unfolded and re-folded at the single-molecule level by the cantilever of an atomic force microscope.


Plastic Solar Cells: Solution Processed Organic Photovoltaics

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We have developed a number of families of small-molecule p-type organic semiconductors for solution-processed photovoltaics, with the aim of understanding structure-property relationships for these materials. We have designed the compounds to self-assemble into structures that facilitate photocurrent generation in order to enhance the efficiency of these low-cost solar cells.