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Mark E. Roberts, Ph.D.

Mark E. RobertsAssociate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Electrical Energy Storage, Electroactive Materials, Thermoresponsive Polymers
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:

Energy Storage, Redox Flow Batteries, Li-ion Batteries, Functional Polymers

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 electrical energy storage devices (e.g. redox flow batteries, Li-ion batteries, supercapacitors): The interplay between various polymers and carbons is evaluated to elucidate how the interface, structure, and composition of disparate materials affect key energy storage characteristics.

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

3) Tailoring the electrochemical properties of electroactive 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.

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

(62 Total, ISI Citations: 6618, h-index: 37)

R.K. Emmett, M.E. Roberts, “Recent developments in alternative aqueous redox flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage”, J. Power Sources (2021) 506, 230087.

R.K. Emmett, M. Grady, M.E. Roberts, “Increasing Charge Transfer at the Liquid−Solid Interface Using Electrodes Modified with Redox Mediators”, Adv. Energy Sustainability Res. (2021) 3, 2100132.

R.K. Emmett, H, Mou, M. Kowalske, M. Grady, H. Jiang, M.E. Roberts, “Creating Faradaic Carbon Nanotubes with Mild Chemical Oxidation”, Batteries & Supercaps (2019) 2, 858-866.

H. Jiang, R.K. Emmett, M.E. Roberts, “Building thermally stable supercapacitors using temperature-responsive separators”, J. Appl. Electrochem. (2019) 49, 271-280.

H. Jiang, R.K. Emmett, M.E. Roberts, “Thermally induced deactivation of lithium-ion batteries using temperature-responsive interfaces”, Ionics (2019) 25, 2453-2457.

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 the National Science Foundation, and DOE logo the Department of Energy.