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Bin Zhao

Bin Zhao



Our research focuses on responsive, functional organic and organic-inorganic hybrid materials, including (i) macromolecular brushes (polymer brushes on flat substrates, hairy particles/brush particles, and bottlebrush polymers), (ii) stimuli-responsive nonionic and zwitterionic polymers, (iii) chiral liquid crystalline polymers for use as electrocaloric materials, and (iv) polymer adsorbents for removal of toxic persistent oxyanions from water. These polymeric systems are designed for answering fundamental questions, elucidating structure-behavior/property relationships, and demonstrating potential applications. State-of-the-art synthetic organic chemistry and polymer chemistry tools are being employed to create these materials. More information can be found on our group webpage.


Postdoc, Microfluidics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D., Polymer Science, University of Akron

M.S., Polymer Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China

B.S., Polymer Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China

Awards and Recognitions

Paul and Wilma Ziegler Professorship, University of Tennessee

Senior Award for Excellence in Research/Creative Achievements, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee

Polymer Science Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Akron

Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement, University of Tennessee

Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oak Ridge Associated Universities


Bohannon, C. A.; Kwok, M.-H.; Huang, J. H.; Rui, G. C.; Li, R. P.; Zhu, L., Zhao, B. Smectic C Self-Assembly in Mesogen-Free Liquid Crystalline Chiral Polyethers with Sulfonylated Methyl-Branched Side Chains. Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2022, 2200501.

DOI: 10.1002/marc.202200501

Kelly, M. T.; Kent, E. W.; Zhao, B. Stepwise Conformational Transitions of Stimuli-Responsive Linear Ternary Heterografted Bottlebrush Polymers in Aqueous Solution. Macromolecules 2022, 55(5), 1629-1641.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02662

Bohannon, C. A.; Chancellor, A. J.; Kelly, M. T.; Le, T. T.; Zhu, L.; Li, C. Y.; Zhao, B. Adaptable Multivalent Hairy Inorganic Nanoparticles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143(41), 16919–16924.

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c08261

Lewoczko, E. M.; Kelly, M. T.; Kent, E. W.; Zhao, B. Effects of Temperature on Chaotropic Anion-Induced Shape Transitions of Star Molecular Bottlebrushes with Heterografted Poly(ethylene oxide) and Poly(N,N-dialkylaminoethyl methacrylate) Side Chains in Acidic Water. Soft Matter 2021, 17, 6566-6579.

DOI: 10.1039/D1SM00728A

Zhao, B. Shape-Changing Bottlebrush Polymers. J. Phys. Chem. B 2021, 125(24), 6373-6389.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c01819

Lewoczko, E. M.; Wang, N.; Lundberg, C. E.; Kelly, M. T.; Kent, E. W.; Wu, T.; Chen, M.-L.; Wang, J.-H.; Zhao, B. Effects of N-Substituents on Solution Behavior of Poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate)s in Water: UCST and LCST. ACS Applied Polymer Materials 2021, 3, 867-878.

DOI: 10.1021/acsapm.0c01191

Kent, E. W.; Lewoczko, E. M.; Zhao, B. pH- and Chaotropic Anion-Induced Conformational Changes of Tertiary Amine-Containing Binary Heterografted Star Molecular Bottlebrushes in Aqueous Solution. Polymer Chemistry 2021, 12, 265-276.

DOI: 10.1039/D0PY01466D

Kent, E. W.; Lewoczko, E. M.; Zhao, B. Effect of Buffer Anions on Pearl-Necklace Morphology of Tertiary Amine-Containing Binary Heterografted Linear Molecular Bottlebrushes in Acidic Aqueous Buffers. Langmuir 2020, 36, 13320-13330.  

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c02435

Bohannon, C. A.; Kwok, M.-H.; Li, R. P.; Zhu, L.; Zhao, B. Effects of Tacticity and Chiral Center-to-Dipole Distance on Mesogen-Free Liquid Crystalline Self-Assembly of Sulfonyl-Containing Comb-like Polymers. Polymer Chemistry 2020, 11, 3018-3031.

DOI: 10.1039/D0PY00199F

Qi, H.; Liu, X. T.; Henn, D. M.; Mei, S.; Staub, M. C.; Zhao, B.; Li, C. Y. Breaking Translational Symmetry via Polymer Chain Overcrowding in Molecular Bottlebrush Crystallization. Nature Communications 2020, 11, 2152.                                       

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15477-5

Additional Information

Lab Address: SERF 217 & 218

Bin Zhao

Contact Information