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Mark E. Roberts, Ph.D.

Mark E. RobertsAssociate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Electroactive Polymers, Thermoresponsive Polymers, Electrical Energy Storage, Chemical Sensors
Phone: 864-656-6307
Office: 204 Earle Hall

mark roberts with studentEducation

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009
M.S., Stanford University, 2005
B.S., Montana State University - Bozeman, 2002

Research Interests:

Functional and Electrically-active Polymers, Energy Storage, Sensors

Dr. Roberts’ research is focused on developing functional polymers with unique electronic and electrochemical properties for an array of electronic systems, from electrical energy storage devices to chemical sensors. Research activities are broadly categorized across three key areas:

1) Developing polymer-carbon composites for electrochemical capacitors (supercapacitors): The interplay between various polymers and carbons are evaluated to elucidate how the interface, structure, and composition of disparate materials affect key energy storage characteristics.

2) Tailoring the electrochemical properties of conducting polymers and guiding their assembly into three-dimensional films with defined nanostructures: Polymer film assembly is guided by molecular variations, template-assisted methods and precise control of synthesis conditions.

3) Understanding how molecular structure and functionality influence electrochemical and thermal properties of responsive polymer electrolytes: Copolymers are designed to phase separate from solution to control electrolyte properties and redox activity with temperature.

Active research projects involve a broad range of activities, from material design and polymer synthesis to film deposition, characterization and device fabrication. Functional polymers are designed to interface with various materials to address fundamental challenges facing energy storage and sensors, and enable new research directions, such as responsive electrochemical systems. Mechanistic details associated with polymerization and device operation are obtained from electrical, optical, and structural characterization techniques.

Selected Publications

(55 Total, ISI Citations: 3078, h-index: 28)

A.S. Klett, J.A. Gamble, M.C. Thies, M.E. Roberts, “Identifying thermal phase transitions of lignin–solvent mixtures using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy”, Green Chem. (2016) 18, 1892.

Y. Zheng, M.E. Roberts, J.C. Kelly, N. Zhang, T. Walker, “Harvesting microalgae using the temperature-activated phase transition of thermoresponsive polymers”, Algal Research (2015) 11, 90.

S. Leguizamon, K.P. Díaz-Orellana, J. Velez, M.C. Thies, M.E. Roberts, “High charge-capacity polymer electrodes comprising alkali lignin from the Kraft process”, J. Mater. Chem. A (2015) 3, 11330.

K.P. Diaz-Orellana, M.E. Roberts, “Scalable, Template-Free Synthesis of Conducting Polymer Microtubes”, RSC Advances (2015) 5, 25504.

J.C. Kelly, N. DeGrood, M.E. Roberts, “Li-ion battery shut-off at high temperature caused by polymer phase separation in responsive electrolytes” Chem. Commun. (2015) 51, 5448.

M.R. Arcila-Velez, J.Y. Zhu, A. Childress, M. Karakaya, R. Podila, A.M. Rao, M.E. Roberts, “Roll-to-roll synthesis of vertically aligned carbon nanotube electrodes for electrical double layer capacitors”, Nano Energy (2014) 8, 9.

M.R. Arcila-Velez, M.E. Roberts, “Redox solute doped polypyrrole for high-charge capacity polymer electrodes”, Chem. Mater. (2014) 26, 1601.

J.C. Kelly, M. Pepin, D.L. Huber, B.C. Bunker, M.E. Roberts, “Reversible Control of Electrochemical Properties Using Thermally‐Responsive Polymer Electrolytes”, Adv. Mater. (2012) 24, 886.

J. Kearns, M.E. Roberts, “Enhanced performance of triarylamine redox electrodes through directed electrochemical polymerization”, J. Mater. Chem. (2012) 22, 2392.

H.U. Khan, M.E. Roberts, O. Johnson, W. Knoll, Z. Bao, “In-situ, label-free DNA detection with organic transistor sensors”, Adv. Mater. (2010) 22, 4452.

M.E. Roberts, D.R. Wheeler, B. Mckenzie, B.C. Bunker, "High specific capacitance conducting polymer ultracapacitors based on tris(thiophenylphenyl)amine", J. Mater. Chem. (2009) 19, 6977.

M.E. Roberts, A.N. Sokolov, Z. Bao, "Material and device considerations for organic thin-film transistor sensors", J. Mater. Chem. (2009) 19, 3351.

M.E. Roberts, S.C.B. Mannsfeld, N. Queraltó, C. Reese, J. Locklin, W. Knoll, Z. Bao, "Water-stable organic transistors and their application in chemical and biological sensors", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2008) 105, 12134.

M.C. LeMieux, M.E. Roberts, S. Barman, Y.W. Jin, J.M. Kim, Z. Bao, "Self-sorted, aligned nanotube networks for thin-film transistors", Science (2008) 321, 101.


3M Logo  Dr. Roberts' research is supported by the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Grant Award.

 NSF Logo  and the National Science Foundation.