Professor Kenneth R. Carter
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The design and use of high performance polymers, especially as they impact advanced microelectronics. Synthetic polymer chemistry, high resolution patterning, optically and electrically active polymers, nanoscience and nanotechnology. Specific research programs include high resolution nanopatterning (materials and processes); roll-to-roll fabrication; synthesis and design of electroactive (OLED and bistable) polymers; controlled surface functionalization of nanopatterned polymer surfaces; bioactive surfaces and sensors.
Over the years, there has been a steady increase in number of techniques and "tools" that are available to the polymer chemist that have allowed us to continue to gain a better understanding of complex systems and to "build" polymers with functionality and properties that were not thought possible even 5 years ago. Our research group is concerned with new materials and processes that can be used to understand and control specific material properties as they relate to nanotechnology, data storage, microelectronic fabrication and biotechnology. One aspect of the research program involves the chemical modification of surfaces to allow the controlled growth of polymers from the surface. We hope to be able to gain a high degree of control of the surface properties through such controlled modification. Structure development through self-organization plays a key role in our processes and materials design. Understanding the complex interfaces of our materials is key to controlling and tuning their properties. A major thrust of the work involves controlled patterning of microscopic and nanoscopic features onto appropriate substrates via novel imprint patterning techniques. Coupling our advanced patterning techniques with specially designed functional polymeric resins have given us the ability to control the size, shape and chemistry of nanoscopic patterns. This is opening up completely new avenues towards the fabrication and design of microelectronic devices that operate on the molecular scale. The ability to harness this control of feature size and surface chemistry also has obvious implications for data storage (magnetic and cross point) and biotechnology (sensors and arrays). We have pioneered new materials and processes for roll-to-roll imprint fabrication and been exploring new sensor applications, such as flexible IR and terahertz detectors.