Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Mark E. Roberts, Ph.D.


Mark E. Roberts

Assistant Professor 
Conducting Polymers, 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 (43 Total, ISI Citations: 1755, h-index: 22)

J. Kearns, M.E. Roberts, “Synthesis of high-charge capacity triarylamine–thiophene redox electrodes using electrochemical copolymerization”, J. Mater. Chem., (2012) 22, 25447.

J.C. Kelly, M. Pepin, D.L. Huber, B.C. Bunker, M.E. Roberts, “Thermally-controllable polymer electrolytes for electrical energy storage”, 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.

D.V. Gough, B.C. Bunker, M.E. Roberts, D.L. Huber, H.F. Zarick, M.J. Austin, J.S. Wheeler, D. Moore, E.D. Spoerke, "Thermally Programmable pH Buffers", ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, (2012), 4, 624.

H.U. Khan, M.E. Roberts, O. Johnson, W. Knoll, Z. Bao, "The effect of pH and DNA concentration on organic thin-film transistor biosensors", Org. Electron., (2012), 13, 519.

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, M.C. LeMieux, Z. Bao, "Aqueous chemical detection with solution-deposited semiconducting and metallic SWNT networks", ACS Nano (2009) 3, 3287.

A.N. Sokolov, M.E. Roberts, Z. Bao, "Fabrication of low-cost electronic biosensors", Mater. Today (2009) 12, 12.

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, R.M. Stoltenberg, Z. Bao, "Flexible, plastic transistor-based chemical sensors", Org. Electron., (2009), 10, 377.

M.E. Roberts, S.C.B. Mannsfeld, M.L. Tang, Z. Bao, "Influence of molecular structure and film properties on the water-stability and sensor characteristics of organic transistors", Chem. Mater. (2008) 20, 7332.

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.