All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Eugenia Kharlampieva

Advisory Committee Members

Aaron Catledge

Gary Gray

Daneesh Simien

Pengfei Wang

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Polymer materials can be used as platforms to incorporate sensing materials, and increasingly the structure and chemistry of polymer chains is exploited in new and novel way and the unique nanoscale properties are studied. Polymers which can be dissolved in water are particularly interesting as primary components or for modifications in biomaterial applications, as many of them can have variable solubility in response to pH, temperature, or other solution conditions. This can allow the formation of microcapsules, for example, which can release drug triggered via specific solution conditions to release chemotherapeutic drug; in comparison to traditional injection or slow-release bulk polymer diffusion devices. Implants or treatment devices can have scar tissue or risk of contamination minimized through the use of polymer coatings. Filtration and diffusion through polymer hydrogels, including the drug release as mentioned previously, can be used as a binary gating device, allowing or preventing the flow of molecules with properties dependent on the initial chain properties and the material-scale properties imposed during fabrication. To rationally design materials, it is necessary to consider the nanoscale interactions of the hydrogel with water. Specifically, studying the effect of polymer properties and hydrogel fabrication on the structure and solution properties of the films it allows of the We can understand the behavior of polymer systems as an interfacial film as an assessment of its properties as a 2D coating, but also as a model system for other material applications such as micrometer-scale capsules. An important facet of instrumentation is the use of neutron reflectivity. This allows study of the internal structure of films, directly allowing us to understand the effects of assembly variables on the properties of the hydrogel.