Group Members

Dr. Russell J. Composto


Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Bioengineering,
and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Education:

PhD Materials Science and Engineering 1987 – Cornell University
MS Materials Science 1984 – Cornell University
BA Physics 1982 – Gettysburg College

Member of:
Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC)
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM)
Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME)
Penn Center for Energy Innovation

composto@seas.upenn.edu, LRSM 321, (215) 898-4451

AuthorDashboard – Russell J Composto

 

Visiting Researchers


Dr. Hyun-Su Lee
Visiting Scientist

leeh1@seas.upenn.edu

Google Scholar: here

 

 

 

Education: Ph.D. in Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Project Title: Nanocarrier Drug Delivery to Improve Access and Outcomes in Lung Transplant

Collaborators: Jacob W. Myerson (PSOM), Jacob S. Brenner (PSOM), Vladimir R. Muzykantov (PSOM)
 
Funding Source: UPenn 2019 Formula Fund
 
Project Description: Current research focuses on the biological mechanism study of the complement system with nanoparticles.

 

Postdoctoral Researchers


Dr. Jaehyun Kim
Postdoctoral Researcher (MSE & CBE)

kjaehyun@seas.upenn.edu

Google Scholar: here

LinkedIn: here

 

 

Education: Ph.D., Sungkyunkwan University; B.S., Sungkyunkwan University.

Project Title: Gold nanoparticle capsule-based plasmonic sensor

Collaborator: Daeyeon Lee, (CBE). Remi Dreyfus (CNRS)

Funding Source: COMPASS

Project Description: I research on submicron size gold nanoparticle capsule sensor for micro pressure detection. Recently micro cracks can induce irreversible damage to NEMS or MEMS sensor. Detection before the detrimental damage is important for more sensitive and complex devices.

 

Dr. Yechan Kim
Postdoctoral Researcher (MSE & CBE)

yckim@seas.upenn.edu

Google Scholar: here

 

 

 

 

Education: Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology

Project Title: Nanoparticle Dynamics in Polyelectrolyte Brushes

Collaborator: Co-advisor: Karen I. Winey (MSE & CBE, Penn); Collaborator: Jan Genzer (CBE, NCSU) and Yale Goldman (PSOM, Penn) 

Funding Source: NSF CBET grant

Project Description: The main objective of my project is to understand the adsorption, desorption, and mobility of nanoparticles at interfaces coated with responsive polyelectrolyte. Based on this, we will provide strategies for designing of separation, sensing, and purification devices with improved performance.

 

Ph.D. Students


Mike Boyle
Ph.D. Candidate (MSE)

mboy@seas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

Education: B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania

Project Title: Controlling Nanoparticle Adsorption to Weak Polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer Films

Collaborators: Wilfredo Mendez Ortiz (CBE), Hyun-Su Lee (MSE),  Katie Rose (CBE), Kathleen J. Stebe (CBE), Yale E. Goldman (Physiology, PSOM), Daeyeon Lee (CBE), Russell J. Composto (CBE)

Funding Sources: NSF, NSF GRFP

Project description: Designing materials to control adsorption of nano-sized objects is important in many applications including the separation and purification of proteins, nanoparticle (NP) synthesis, and water filtration. Essential to this task is an understanding of the underlying interactions that influence nanoparticle transport and adsorption. Using a model layer-by-layer (LbL) system of alternating poly(allyl amine hydrochloride) (PAH) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), we study the adsorption of 20 nm poly(ethylene glycol)-carboxylic acid functionalized gold NPs (Au-PEG12-COOH NPs) to 50 nm LbL films on silicon/glass substrates. By complimenting macroscopic quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) with microscopic label-free interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements, we demonstrate the ability to control adsorption by modifying the capping layer chemistry (PAA vs. PAH), adsorption experiment solution pH, and thermal crosslinking temperature of LbL films prior to particle exposure and quantify effects of these variables on surface coverage, interaction mechanism, and kinetics of adsorption.

 

Aria Zhang
Ph.D. Candidate (MSE)

ariaczh@seas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

Education: B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

Project Title: Phase evolution of polymer-grafted nanoparticles in a polymer nanocomposites

Collaborators: N/A

Funding Sources: NSF GRFP, REACT

Project description: My project is to study the phase behavior of nanoparticles grafted with polymers in a polymer matrix. The objective is to investigate the dependence of phase behavior on nanoparticle sizes film thicknesses, and other parameters. ToF-SIMS, AFM, and TEM are used to depth profiles the films, probe the topography, and image the film cross-sections, respectively. The spatial arrangement of the nanoparticles in a polymer matrix can enhance the polymer properties, leading to a wide range of applications, such as modified surface properties of polymer nanocomposites with an enriched surface layer of silica nanoparticle, and tunable optical properties of polymers by incorporating gold nanoparticles into the system. 

 

Weiwei Kong
Ph.D. Candidate (MSE)

weiweik@seas.upenn.edu

LinkedIn: here

 

 

 

Education: B.S.E. in Polymer Science and Engineering, Case Western Reserve University

Project Title: Polymer kinetics under confinement inside metal complex

Collaborators: Zahra Fakhraai (Chemistry), Eric Detsi (MSE), Eric Stach (MSE)

Funding Sources: NSF/DMR

Project description: Recent research on nanocomposites has been focused on adding inorganic nanofibers into polymer matrices to impart properties not found in individual polymers. To further enhance the mechanical properties and ion conductivity, we fabricate bicontinuous polymer infiltrated scaffold metal (PrISM). PrISM composites are made by infiltrating polymers into the nanoporous gold (NPG) which has a bicontinuous structure. The infiltration kinetics depends on factors such as polymer molecular weight, polymer affinity with the gold scaffold, and the gold scaffold ligament size. The objectives of my project are to determine the effect of confinement on polymer infiltration, the effect of different polymer types on the infiltration kinetics, and the ion conductivity of the PEO filled NPG system.

 

Katie Sun
Ph.D. Student (MSE)

katiesun@seas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Education: B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, Rutgers University

Project Title: Nanoparticle Interactions and Nanoscale Transport in Polyelectrolyte Brushes

Collaborators: Co-advised: Karen I. Winey (MSE & CBE)

Funding Sources: NSF CBET

Project description: I will be researching nanoparticle (NP) dynamics through investigating NP absorption, desorption and transport at interfaces, particularly interfaces modified by charged polymers. The adsorption thermodynamics and diffusion of NPs at model and polyelectrolyte brush interfaces will be investigated, as well.

 

Justin Hughes 
Ph.D. Student (MSE)

jhughes3@seas.upenn.edu

 

 

Education: B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland College Park

Project Title: Thermodynamic and Dynamic behavior of polyelectrolyte grafted brushes studied with autonomous experimentation

Collaborators: N/A

Funding Sources: NSF DMR

Project description: I will be studying the thermodynamic and dynamic behavior of charged polymer brushes with a combination of experimental and computational methods.

 

M.S. Students


Gautam Rajesh Jain
M.S. Student (MSE)

gjain459@seas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Education: BTech in Polymer Engineering and Masters in Nanotechnology

Project Title: AFM Studies of Layer-by-Layer Films 

Collaborators: Mike Boyle (MSE)

Project Description: My project is to determine the non-DLVO forces that act on the surface of polymer layer-by-layer (LbL) films. I will be using AFM contact mode with functionalized gold tips for determining the non-DLVO forces by controlling the trigger force and velocity with which the tips interact with polymer LbL films.

 

Undergraduate Students


Sahana Sundar
Undergraduate (MSE)

ssundar2@seas.upenn.edu

Sahana is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She was accepted to the 2020 Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring program, to participate in research under the mentorship of Shawn Maguire and Connor Bilchak. She is currently studying the optical properties of nanoporous metals and nanoparticle analogues.

 

Isa Pan
Undergraduate (MSE)

chuyipan@seas.upenn.edu

Isa is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the VIPER program majoring in Materials Science & Engineering and Chemistry. She joined the group in the summer of 2022. She is currently studying the pH dependence of polymer brushes under the mentorship of Weiwei Kong.