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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

James Watkins

Second Advisor

Kenneth Cater

Subject Categories

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering | Polymer Science | Transport Phenomena


Self-assembly of soft materials provides an access to generate nanoscale structure in large scale and promise the application in nanotechnology by precise control of characteristic length. In addition to accurate structural organization, the carefully choice of material and high throughout fast processing to leverage the self-organization system which plays vital roles in the development of advance devices. Three topics related to BBCP assembly and applications are discussed in this dissertation: 1) the morphology control of BBCP with new architecture, 2) the well-dispersed nanoparticles within mesoporous carbon matrix via rapid fabrication process for photocatalytic application; and 3) The iron-nitrogen doped porous carbon applied in electrocatalysis.

At beginning, we studied the fundamental self-assembly of bottlebrush copolymer (BBCPs). The properties of BBCPs can be tuned upon incorporating small molecules on the backbone chains. A systematic study was conducted on microphase-separated morphologies transition in asymmetric (polystyrene-random-poly(di-n-butyl ester))- block-poly(ethylene oxide) ((PS-r-DBE)-b-PEO) BBCPs by varying the small molecule and polystyrene(PS) ratio and volume fraction. A spherical morphology, which was rarely seen in the BBCP system, was found by significantly reducing the steric hindrance on polymer backbone.

We further extend the BBCPs applications in fabrication of porous carbon material. We harnessed the self-assembly of BBCP with resin as carbon or nitrogen-contained carbon precursor as well as titania nanoparticle and transition metal iron to construct nanoporous carbon as functionalized catalyst. More importantly, the precursors undergo rapid carbonization through either photothermal curing or rapid temperature annealing. The unique properties derived from fast fabrication methods are also addressed. This thesis across the fundamentals of bottlebrush copolymer self-assembly to photo/electro catalytic applications through structure property relationships that make attractive for next generation nanotechnology development.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.