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Scholarly Interest Report
Rafael Verduzco
Associate Professor
Associate Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • B. S. Chemical Engineering (2001) Rice University, Houston, Tx
  • M. S. Chemical Engineering (2003) California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
  • PhD. Chemical Engineering (2007) California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Primary Department
   Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Department Affiliations
  • Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
  • Smalley-Curl Institute
     De Lange Major Conference
     Verduzco Laboratory
     Verduzcolab Website
     Verduzcolab Website
     Verduzcolab Website
     Verduzco Group Website
     Verduzcolab Website
     Verduzcolab Website
    Research Areas
     Polymeric materials, Liquid crystals, Organic Photovoltaics, Composites, Surface Modification

    Verduzco Laboratory Overview


    While the general term ‘nanotechnology’ oftentimes refers to work involving nanomaterials such as fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dots, the Verduzco laboratory focuses on nanotechnology using materials that have been known and studied for a long time. Polymers are ubiquitous in commercial applications and several textbooks have been devoted to the physical and chemical properties of polymers, but by reconfiguring and rearranging polymers at the nanoscale, remarkable new properties emerge. These types of nanoscale materials open the door to advanced applications such as high-density memory storage, polymeric assemblies for targeted drug delivery, polymeric photovoltaics, fuel cells, among other applications. The advantages of using more conventional materials like polymers is that their basic properties have been established, their toxicity is known, and the potential for direct application is more feasible. The challenge in polymer nanoscience is exploring the vast combinatorial playground enabled by modern synthetic polymer chemistry in an efficient way to uncover fundamental knowledge that will be the source of future applications or new materials which can be directly applied to solve longstanding engineering problems. 

    Teaching Areas
     Thermodynamics, Polymeric Materials
    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles

    Pesek, Stacy L; Xiang, Qiqi; Hammouda, Boualem; Verduzco, Rafael; "Small-angle neutron scattering analysis of bottlebrush backbone and side chain flexibility." Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, 55 (2017) : 104-111.


    Qi, Luqing; ShamsiJazeyi, Hadi; Ruan, Gedeng; Mann, Jason A; Lin, Yen-Hao; Song, Chen; Ma, Yichuan; Wang, Le; Tour, James M; Hirasaki, George J; "Segregation of Amphiphilic Polymer-Coated Nanoparticles to Bicontinuous Oil/Water Microemulsion Phases." Energy & Fuels, 31 (2017) : 1339-1346.


    Verduzco, Rafael; Jacot, Jeffrey G; Adetiba, Oluwatomiyin; Agrawal, Aditya; "Responsive liquid crystal elastomers for enhanced cell sheet alignment."  (2017)


    White, Timothy; Verduzco, Rafael; "Liquid crystal elastomers: emerging trends and applications." Soft matter, 13 (2017) : 4320-4320.


    Zhu, B; Barnes, MG; Kim, H; Yuan, M; Ardebili, H; Verduzco, R; "Molecular engineering of step-growth liquid crystal elastomers." Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 244 (2017) : 433-440.


    Agrawal, A, Yun, T, Pesek, SL, Chapman, WG, Verduzco, R. "Shape-responsive liquid crystal elastomer bilayers." Soft Matter, 10: 1411 1415.


    Li, X, ShasiJazeyi, H, Pesek, SL, Agrawal, A, Hammouda, B, Verduzco, R. "Thermoresponsive PNIPAAM bottlebrush polymers with tailored side-chain length and side-chain end-group structure." Soft Matter, 10: 2008 2015.


    Lin, Y-H, Smith, KA, Yager, K, Stewart, B, Verduzco, R. "Lamellar and Liquid Crystal Ordering in Solvent-Annealed All-Conjugated Block Copolymer Thin Films." Soft Matter, 10: 3817 3825.


    Mitra, I, Li, X, Pesek, Sl, Lokitz, BS, Uhrig, D, Ankner, JS, Verduzco, R, Stein, GE. "Thin film phase behavior of bottlebrush/linear polymer blends." Macromolecules, 47: 5269 5276.


    ShamsiJazeyi, H, Miller, CA, Hirasaki, GJ, Verduzco, R. "Polymer-Coated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Oil Recovery ." J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 131: 40576.


    ShamsiJazeyi, H, Verduzco, R, Hirasaki, GJ. "Reducing adsorption of anionic surfactant for enhanced oil recovery: Part I. Competitive adsorption mechanism.." Colloids Surf. A. Physicochem. Eng., 453: 168 175.


    Smith, KA, Stewart, B, Yager, KG, Strzalka, J, Verduzco, R. "Control of all-conjugated block copolymer crystallization via thermal and solvent annealing." J. Polym. Sci. B:, Polym. Phys., 52: 900 906.


    Agrawal, A.; Ajayan, P.M.; Carey, B.J.; Chapman, W.G.; Chipara, A.C.; Patra, P.K.; Shamoo, Y.; Verduzco, R. "Dynamic self-stiffening in liquid crystal elastomers," Nat. Commun 20134, 1739. 


    Gomez, E.D.; Guo, C.; Hexemer, A.; Lin, Y-H.; Smith, K.A.; Strzalka, J.; ; Wang, C.; Witman, M.D.; Verduzco, R. "Conjugated block copolymer photovoltaics with near 3% efficiency through microphase separation," Nano Lett. 201313, 2957. 


    Hammouda, B.; Li, X.; Pesek, S.L.; Verduzco, R. "Small-angle neutron scattering analysis of bottlebrush polymers made by grafting-through polymerization," 201346, 6998. 


    Kempf, C.N.; Prukop, S.; Li, X.; Smith, K.A.; Verduzco, R. "Amphiphilic poly(alkylthiophene) block copolymers prepared via externally initiated GRIM and click coupling" Polym. Chem. 2013, 4, 2158.


    Lin, Y-H.; Smith, K.A.; Kempf, C.N.; Verduzco, R. "Synthesis and crystallinity of all-conjugated poly(3-hexyl thiophene) block copolymers," Polym. Chem. 20134, 229. 


    Shamsi Jazeyi, H.; Verduzco, R.; Hirasaki, G. "Reducing adsorption of anonic surfactant for enhanced oil recovery: Part 1. Competitive adsoprtion mechanism," Coll. Suf. A., in press. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2013.10.042. 


    Smith, K.A.; Lin, Y-H.; Dement, D.B.; Strzalka, J.; Darling, S.B.; Pickel, D.L.; Verduzco, R. "Synthesis and crystallinity of conjugated block copolymers prepared by click chemistry," Macromolecules 2013, 46, 2636. 


    Smith, K.A.; Pickel, D.L.; Yager, K.; Kissilinger, K.; Verduzco, R. "Conjugated Block Copolymers via Functionalized Initiators and Click Chemistry," J. Poly. Sci. A. Polym. Chem., in press. 2013. DOI: 10.1002/pola.26984.  


    Agrawal, A.; Luchette, P.; Palffy-Muhoray, P.; Biswal, S. L.; Chapman, W. G.; Verduzco, R. "Surface wrinkling in liquid crystal elastomers" Soft Matter 2012, 8, 7138. 


    Li, X.; Prukop, S. L.; Biswal, S. L.; Verduzco, R. "Surface Properties of Bottlebrush Polymer Thin Films" Macromolecules 2012, 45, 7118.


    Lin, Y.-H.; Darling, S. B.; Nikiforov, M. P.; Strzalka, J.; Verduzco, R. "Supramolecular Conjugated Block Copolymers" Macromolecules 2012, 45, 6571. 


    Zhu, Y.; Li, X.; Cai, Q.; Sun, Z.; Casillas, G.; Jose-Yacaman, M.; Verduzco, R.; Tour, J. M. "Quantitative Analysis of Structure and Bandgap Changes in Graphene Oxide Nanoribbons during Thermal Annealing" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 11774.


    Botiz, Schaller, Verduzco, Darling. “Optoelectronic Properties and Charge Transfer in Donor–Acceptor All-Conjugated Diblock Copolymers,” J. Phys. Chem. C., 2011, 115, 9260-9266.


    Dong, Pint, Hainey, Mirri, Zhan, Zhang, Pasquali, Hauge, Verduzco, Jiang, Lin, Lou. “Vertically Aligned Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes as Low-cost and High Electrocatalytic Counter Electrode for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2011, 3, 061702


    Verduzco, Botiz, Pickel, Kilbey, Hong, Dimasi, Darling. “Polythiophene-block-Polyfluorene and Polythiophene-block-Poly(fluorene-co-benzothiadiazole): insights into the self-assembly of all-conjugated block copolymers” Macromolecules, 2011, 44, 530-539.


    Hong, Verduzco, Gleeson, Sprunt, Jákli. “Nanostructures of liquid crystal phases in mixtures of bent-core and rod-shaped molecules,” Phys. Rev. E, 2011, 83, 3157.


    Hong, Verduzco, Williams, Twieg, DiMasi, Pindak, Jakli, Gleeson, and Sprunt. “Short range smectic order in bent-core nematic liquid crystals” Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 4819-4827


    Harden, Chambers, Verduzco, Luchette, Gleeson, Sprunt, Jakli. “Giant flexoelectricity in bent-core nematic liquid crystal elastomers,” Appl. Phys. Lett 96, 102907, 2010.


    Verduzco, Luchette, Hong, Harden, Sprunt, DiMasi, Muhoray, Kilbey, Sprunt, Gleeson, Jákli. “Bent-Core Liquid Crystal Elastomers” J. Mater. Chem., 2010, 20, 8488-8495

     Book chapters

    Lin, Y-H, Verduzco, R. "Polymer Composites for Energy Harvesting, Conversion, and Storage, In: Synthesis and Process-Dependent Film Structure of All-Conjugated Copolymers for Organic Photovoltaics." American Chemical Society Symposium Series, 1161 (July 7, 2014) : 49-70.

     Invited Talks

    "“Block Copolymer Cathodes for Electrochemical Energy Storage” ." Los Alamos National Laboratory. (5/28/2014)


    "“Bottlebrush Polymers as Additives for Tailoring Thin Film Properties”." Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering Seminar, University of Southern Florida. (10/3/14)


    "“Charge and Energy Transfer in All-Conjugated Block Copolymers”." 30th International Conference of the Polymer Processing Society, Cleveland, OH. (June, 2014)


    "“Morphology and Charge Separation in All-Conjugated Block Copolymers”." CNM/APS/EMC User Conference, Argonne National Laboratory. (5/12/2014)


    "“Structure and Photovoltaic Performance of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers” ." National Graduate Research Polymers Conference, Baton Rouge, LA. (06/02/2014)


    "All-Conjugated Block Copolymer Photovoltaics." AIChE Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. (11/17/2014)


    "Polymer Nanocomposites using Bottlebrush Polymers." (July 2013)


    "Solution Conformation of Multicomponent Bottlebrush Polymers." (April 2013)


    "Structure and Photovoltaic Performance of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers." (July 2013)


    "Sustainable Energy from Light-Harvesting Plastics." (January 2013)


    "Synthesis and Film Properties of Multicomponent Bottlebrush Polymers." (Febuary 2013)


    R. Verduzco, Xianyu Li, Aditya Agrawal, Stacy Prukop. "Molecular Design of Polymers for Advanced Applications: Surface Wrinkling, Dynamic Stiffening, and Antifouling," Lamar University, April 2012.


    "All-Conjugated Block Copolymer Photovoltaics." (November 30, 2012)


    "Characterization of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers and Bottlebrush Polymers." (November 9, 2012)


    "Sustainable Energy from Light-Harvesting Plastics." (December 4, 2012)


    "Synthesis and Crystallinity of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers." (October 31, 2012)


    Speaker.  "All-Conjugated Block Copolymers for Self-Assembled Photovoltaics." Center for Nanoscale Materials Science User Meeting, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (September 20, 2011)


    "All-Conjugated Block Copolymers for Self-Assembled Photovoltaics." (December 14, 2011)


    Speaker.  "Block Copolymers for Nanostuctured Photovoltaics." Tianju University Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin, China. (11/18/2011)


    Speaker.  "Synthesis and Self-Assembly of Rod-Rod Polythiophene-block-Polyfluorene Conjugated Copolymers." American Chemical Society Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado. (November 30, 2011)


    "“Charge Separation and Photovoltaic Performance of All‐Conjugated Block Copolymers”." Gulf Coast Consortia Workshop, Rice University, Houston, TX. (12/15/14) With Lin, Yen-Hao, Smith, Kendall, Mok, Jorge W.


    Speaker.  " "Synthesis and Thin Film Morphology of Rod-Rod Polythiophene-block-Polyfluorene Conjugated Copolymers"

     ." American Institute of Chemical Engineering Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee. (November 2010)


    Speaker.  ""Clustering in Nematic Bent Core LCs and LC Polymers"." American Physical Society, Boston, Massachussetts. (March 2010)


    "BentCore LC Elastomers and SideChain LC Polymers Using Reactive BentCore Mesogens." (September 25, 2009)


    "Nanoscale Clustering in Bent Core Nematic Liquid Crystals and Liquid Crystal Polymers ." (November 9, 2009)


    PI.  "Surface properties of bottlebrush polymer thin films." American Physical Society , Boston, Massachusetts. (February 27, 2012) With Xianyu Li


    PI.  "Synthesis and Characterization of a Systematic Series of All-Conjugated Diblock Copolymers." American Physical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (February 27, 2012) With Kendall Smith, Dana Dement, Jim Howe, Chloe Kempf


    "“Morphology and Charge Separation in All-Conjugated Block Copolymer Photovoltaics” ." ACS Macromex Meeting, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (12/3-6/2014) With Mok, J, Lin, Y-H.


    "“Synthesis and Morphology of Donor-Acceptor All-Conjugated Block Copolymers” ." ACS Spring Meeting, Dallas, TX. (3/18/14)


    "All-Conjugated Block Copolymers for Self-Assembled Photovoltaics." (July 24, 2012)


    "Surface Properties of Bottlebrush Polymer Thin Films." (June 26, 2012)


    "Surface Properties of Bottlebrush Polymer Thin Films." (June 25, 2012)

     Seminar Speaker

    ""Dynamic Stiffening in Liquid Crystal Elastomers"." (April 12, 2012)


    PI.  "Controlled phase separation in conjugated polymer blends using quadrupole hydrogen bonding interactions." American Physical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (January 28, 2012) With Yen-Hao Lin


    PI.  "Liquid crystal elastomer based wrinkling instability." American Physical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (January 28, 2012) With Aditya Agrawal, Paul Luchette, Peter Palfy-Muhoray, Walter Chapman, Lisa Biswal


    Speaker.  "Synthesis and Characterization of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers Prepared via Click Chemistry." American Physical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (February 28, 2012) With Kendall Smith, Chloe Kempf, Dana Dement, Jim Howe


    "Synthesis and characterization of all-conjugated block copolymers/supramolecular block copolymers in thin films." (October 30, 2012)


    Speaker.  "Understanding the Self-Assembly of All-Conjugated Block Copolymers." American Institute of Chemical Engineering, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (October 20, 2011)

     Session Chair

    "Nano Energy 2 – Solar/Photovoltaics, Optics, Renewable Energy." 2014 NorTex Nano Summit, Rice University, Houston, TX. (10/14/2014)

    Editorial Positions
     Editor for Special Issue, Soft Matter. Royal Society of Chemistry. (2017 - 2017)

    Supervised Theses & Dissertations
     Yen-Hao Lin, Ph. D. Pseudo Block Copolymers for Self-Assembled Photovoltaics. (2014) (Thesis Director)

     Aditya Agrawal, Ph. D. Applications of Liquid Crystal Elastomers. (2014) (Thesis Director)

     Xianyu Li, Ph. D. Bottlebrush Polymers for Stimuli Responsive Surfaces. (2014) (Thesis Director)

     Kendall A Smith, Ph. D. All-Conjugated Block Copolymers for Self-Assembled Photovoltaics. (2014) (Thesis Director)

     Stacy Prukop, Ph. D. Model Bottlebrush Polymers for Drug Delivery. (2015) (Thesis Director)

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     Best Fundamental Paper Award, AIChE, South Texas Section (October 2017)

     NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2014)

     NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (July 2014)

     ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award, Petroleum Research Fund (July 2012)