MSE Seminar: “Structurally Defined Macromolecules”

Date(s) - 03/28/2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Rhines Hall 125


Austin M. Evans, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemistry
University of Florida

Dr. Austin Evans is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida, where his group studies electronic and spintronic phenomena in structurally defined macromolecules. Prior to his independent position, Austin was a Rhodes-Schmidt Science Fellow at Columbia University, where he worked with Prof. Latha Venkataraman (Applied Physics) and Colin Nuckolls (Chemistry).

Austin completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Northwestern University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and an International Institute for Nanotechnology Ryan Fellow. There, Austin worked with Prof. William Dichtel to develop controlled polymerization methods to access high-quality two-dimensional macromolecular sheets and one-dimensional synthetic nanotubes, both of which are elusive macromolecular architectures.

For his contributions to many areas of chemistry, engineering, and physics Austin has been recognized with numerous awards including the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, ACS POLY Henkel Award, MOF2020 Early Career Award, Foresight Institute Vision Fellowship for Molecular Electronics, and the IUPAC-Solvay International Award for Young Chemists. Austin is also passionate about community engagement, which has led to his multi-year work with secondary schools in New York City and Chicago, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Congress.


Macromolecules with defined crystalline structures are predicted to host many unique thermal, electronic, and optical behaviors. However, the general synthesis of single-crystalline macromolecules or the interrogation of well-defined polymers properties has proved elusive.

Here, I will describe how single-crystalline macromolecular sheets (two-dimensional polymers) and one-dimensional nanotubes can be synthesized by precisely engineering supramolecular interactions. Key to this discussion is a robust understanding of the thermodynamic and kinetic considerations that underlie polymer crystallization.

I will also discuss how, using single-molecule break-junction measurements, it is possible to interrogate the electronic properties of well-defined single-polymer systems.

Throughout these discussions, I will highlight how structurally defined polymers, when combined with advanced processing and measurement strategies, yield emergent combinations of thermal, mechanical, optical, and electronic properties not available in other material platforms.