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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Murugappan Muthukumar

Subject Categories

Biochemical and Biomolecular Engineering | Bioelectrical and Neuroengineering | Biological Engineering | Biology and Biomimetic Materials | Biomaterials | Biomedical | Biotechnology | Chemical and Pharmacologic Phenomena | Complex Fluids | Complex Mixtures | Condensed Matter Physics | Digestive, Oral, and Skin Physiology | Dynamics and Dynamical Systems | Electrical and Electronics | Macromolecular Substances | Materials Chemistry | Medical Biotechnology | Medical Pharmacology | Medicinal-Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Nanomedicine | Nanotechnology Fabrication | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Pharmaceutics and Drug Design | Physical Chemistry | Physiological Processes | Polymer and Organic Materials | Polymer Chemistry | Polymer Science | Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Systems and Integrative Physiology | Therapeutics | Thermodynamics


The self-assembly of charged macromolecules forms the basis of all life on earth. From the synthesis and replication of nucleic acids, to the association of DNA to chromatin, to the targeting of RNA to various cellular compartments, to the astonishingly consistent folding of proteins, all life depends on the physics of the organization and dynamics of charged polymers. In this dissertation, I address several of the newest challenges in the assembly of these types of materials. First, I describe the exciting new physics of the complexation between polyzwitterions and polyelectrolytes. These materials open new questions and possibilities within the context of drug packaging and delivery, a selection of which are addressed in the second chapter. In the third chapter, fundamental questions about the chemical characteristics that influence the phase separation of polyzwitterions and polyelectrolytes are explored systematically. Finally, in the fourth chapter, the phenomenon of coacervation is harnessed in the electrochemical context, and several types of measurements of these properties are described in detail. This work represents the current state-of-the-art in the field of charged systems, and future work to create technologies (in the biomedical context, in particular) can all apply the fundamental results illuminated herein.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023