Ph.D., Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S., Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.S., Chemical Engineering
Chair, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Biohybrid Solar Energy Conversion with Photosynthetic Proteins
We are collaborating with Professor Clare McCabe to develop, through a combined computational and experimental approach, molecular insight into the mechanisms of lubrication in micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), and to use this as the basis for the molecular design of new MEMS/NEMS lubricants. To date our published results have focused on bound monolayer and polymeric films that are engineered to contain varying extents of mobility and cohesive energy and can present functional surfaces to support liquid overlayers. We are now employing poly(ionic liquid) films to produce a tailorable system to optimize lubricating properties. Our research is providing new understanding of the tribological stability of thin films and offering innovative strategies to fabricate durable, high-performance nanoscale lubricants that are inspired by natural lubrication systems.
Superhydrophobic Surface Coatings Inspired by Nature
Superhydrophobic surfaces, those that cause water droplets to maintain a nearly spherical shape on contact, combine intrinsic hydrophobicity with microscale roughness and have a broad array of potential applications, including self-cleaning surfaces, corrosion resistance, water repellency, and reduced drag. While superhydrophobic surfaces are abundant in Nature, approaches to truly replicate natural surfaces have generally produced hand-held elastomeric materials but not surface coatings. The ability to replicate highly evolved and functional natural surfaces onto a substrate could revolutionize the fabrication of superhydrophobic coatings, leading to unique materials architectures and compositions that fuse the best of the natural and synthetic worlds. We have developed a new method called micromolding surface-initiated polymerization (MSIP) where the growth of a polymer from a surface is confined within the features of a mold to produce a surface coating that replicates a target material. This approach offers a limitless supply of coating topographies through Nature and a near-boundless array of materials compositions through synthetic chemistry that extend well beyond those in Nature, to generate superhydrophobic coatings with novel architectures and structures.
Selected Publications:C. Escobar, A. Zulkifli, C. J. Faulkner, A. Trzeciak, and G. K. Jennings, "Composite Fluorocarbon Membranes by Surface-Initiated Polymerization from Nanoporous Gold-coated Alumina" ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 4, 906-915, 2012.
D. Prasai, J. C. Tuberquia, Harl, R. R., G. K. Jennings, and K.I. Bolotin, "Graphene: Corrosion Inhibiting Coating," ACS Nano, 6, 1102-1108, 2012.
G. LeBlanc, G. Chen, G. K. Jennings, and D. Cliffel, "Photoreduction of Catalytic Platinum Particles Using Immobilized Multilayers of Photosystem I," Langmuir, 28, 7952-7956, 2012.
J. L. Rivera, G. K. Jennings, and C. McCabe, "Examining the Frictional Forces Between Mixed Hydrophobic - Hydrophilic Alkylsilane Monolayers," J. Chem. Phys. 136, 244701, 2012.
J. B. Lewis, S. G. Vilt, J. L. Rivera, G. K. Jennings, and C. McCabe, "Frictional Properties of Mixed Fluorocarbon/Hydrocarbon Silane Monolayers: A Simulation Study," Langmuir, 28, 14218-14226, 2012.
B. D. Booth, N. J. Martin, E. A. Buehler, C. McCabe, and G. K. Jennings, "Tribological Characterization of Gradient Monolayer Films from Trichlorosilanes on Silicon," Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 47, 57-63, 2012.
G. LeBlanc, G. Chen, E. A. Gizzie, G. K. Jennings, and D. Cliffel, "Enhanced Photocurrents of Photosystem I Films on p-Doped Silicon, Adv. Mater. 24, 5959-5962, 2012.
S. G. Vilt, C. J. Caswell, J. C. Tuberquia, C. McCabe, and G. K. Jennings, "Effect of Roughness on the Microscale Friction of Hydrocarbon Films," J. Phys. Chem. C, 116, 21795-21801, 2012.
X. Yan, C. J. Faulkner, G. K. Jennings, and D. E. Cliffel, "Photosystem I in Langmuir-Blodgett and Langmuir-Schaefer Monolayers," Langmuir, 28, 15080-15086, 2012.
D. Gunther, G. LeBlanc, D. E. Cliffel, and G. K. Jennings, "Pueraria lobata (Kudzu) Photosystem I Improves the Photoelectrochemical Performance of Silicon," Industrial Biotechnology, 9, 37-41, 2013. Featured on the cover.
D. Gunther, G. LeBlanc, D. Prasai, J. Zhang, D. E. Cliffel, and G. K. Jennings, "Photosystem I on Graphene as a Highly Transparent, Photoactive Electrode" Langmuir, 29, 4177-4180, 2013.
J. C. Tuberquia and G. K. Jennings, "Surface Initiation from Adsorbed Polymer Clusters: A Rapid Route to Superhydrophobic Coatings," ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 5, 2593-2598, 2013.
G. Chen, G. LeBlanc, G. K. Jennings, and D. Cliffel, "Effect of Redox Mediator on the Photo-Induced Current of a Photosystem I Modified Electrode," Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 160, H315-H320, 2013.
G. Chen, F. Hijazi, LeBlanc, G. K. Jennings, and D. Cliffel, "Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy of Multilayer Photosystem I Photoelectrochemistry," ECS Electrochemistry Letters, 2, H59-H62, 2013.
C. A. Escobar, R. Harl, K. Maxwell, N. Mahfuz, B. R. Rogers, and G. K. Jennings, "Amplification of Surface-Initiated Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization of 5-(Perfluoro-n-alkyl)norbornenes by Macroinitiation," Langmuir, 29, 12560-12571, 2013.
C. A. Escobar, T. Cooksey, M. Spellings, and G. K. Jennings, "Micromolding Surface-Initiated Polymerization: A Versatile Route for Fabrication of Coatings with Microscale Surface Features of Tunable Height," Adv. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/admi.201400055.
G. LeBlanc, E. Gizzie, G. K. Jennings, and D. Cliffel, "Integration of Photosystem I with Graphene Oxide for Photocurrent Enhancement," Adv. Energy Mater., 4, 1301953, 2014.