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Mike Kilbey

Mike Kilbey

Professor, Associate Head of Graduate Education


The principal area of Professor Kilbey’s research is surface and interface engineering using soft materials. We focus on studying the intrinsic links between assembly, structure and properties of ultrathin polymer films at surfaces and of molecular assemblies in solution. Our challenge is to understand the design rules whereby controllable, precise syntheses coupled with the ability to manipulate molecular assembly and intermolecular interactions lead to new and useful structures, properties, and products. We use a variety of characterization methods to probe structure and interactions on length scales approaching molecular dimensions, including surface forces measurements and neutron reflectivity, and we also use in situ ellipsometric measurements to track dynamics of assembly and changes in solvated structure of surface-tethered polymer thin films.

Areas of Research Expertise

  • Assembly-structure-property relationships of polymer brushes made by self-assembly and by surface-initiated polymerizations
  • Swelling behavior of stimuli-responsive polymer layers and dynamics of preferential adsorption of amphiphilic block copolymers
  • Surface behavior and characterization of conducting polymer thin films


Michael Kilbey received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the University of Tennessee (UT) as an Associate Professor of Chemistry, he was on the faculty of Clemson University in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for 11 years. Mike is active nationally with ACS and AIChE, and a member of Sigma Xi.


B.S., University of Wisconsin (1990)
Ph.D., University of Minnesota (1996)


Davis, J.L.; Wang, X.; Bornani, K.; Hinestrosa, J.P.; Mays, J.W.; Kilbey, S.M. II “Solution Properties of Architecturally Complex Multiarm Star Diblock Copolymers in a Nonselective Solvent for the Inner Block”, Macromolecules, 2016, 49, 2288.

Bornani, K.; Wang, X.; Davis, J.L.; Wang, X.; Wang, W.; Hinestrosa, J.P.; Mays, J.W.; Kilbey, S.M. II “Impact of chain microstructure on solution and thin film self-assembly of PCHD-based semi-flexible/flexible diblock copolymers”, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 6509

Wang, X.; Davis, J.L.; Kinestrosa, J.P.; Mays, J.W.; Kilbey, S.M. II “Control of Self-Assembled Structure through Architecturally and Compositionally Complex Block Copolymer Surfactant Mixtures”, Macromolecules, 2014, 47, 7138

Chen, H.; Chen, J.; Yin, W.; Yu, X.; Shao, M.; Xiao, K.; Hong, H.; Pickel, D.L.; Kochemba, W.M.; Kilbey, S.M. II; Dadmun, M. “Correlation of Polymeric Compatibilizer Structure to its Impact on the Morphology and Function of P3HT:PCBM Bulk Heterojunctions”, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 5309.

Ramanathan, M.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Darling, S. B. “Process Controlled Multiscale Morphologies in Metal‐containing Block Copolymer Thin Films”, J. Nanosci. & Nanotech. 2012.

Kochemba, W.M.; Pickel, D.L.; Sumpter, B.G.; Chen, J.; Kilbey, S.M. II “In-situ formation of pyridyl-functionalized poly(3-hexylthiophene)s via quenching of the Grignard metathesis polymerization: Toward ligands for semiconductor quantum dots”,  Chem. Mater. 2012, 24, 4459.

Kochemba, W.M.; Pickel, D.L.; Kilbey, S.M. II “End-group composition of poly(3-hexylthiophene)s prepared by in situ quenching of the Grignard metathesis polymerization: Influence of additives and reaction conditions”,  J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2012, 50, 2762.

Alonzo, J.; Chen, J.; Messman, J.; Yu, X.; Hong, K.; Deng, S.; Swader, O.; Dadmun, M.; Ankner, J. F.; Britt, P.; Mays, J. W.; Malagoli, M.; Sumpter, B. G.; Brédas, J. L.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Assembly andCharacterization of Well Defined High Molecular Weight Poly(pphenylene) Polymer Brushes”, Chem. Mater. 2011, 23(19), 4367‐4374.

He. Z.; Xiao, K.; Durant, W.; Hensley, D. K.; Anthony, J. E.; Hong, K.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Chen, J.; Li, D. “Enhanced Performance Consistency in Nanoparticle/TIPS Pentacene‐Based Organic Thin Film Transistors”, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2011, 21(19), 3617‐3623.

He, L.; Hinestrosa, J. P.; Pickel, J. M.; Zhang, S.; Bucknall, D. G.; Kilbey, S. M.; Mays, J. W.; Hong, K. “Fluorine‐Containing ABC Linear Triblock Copolymers: Synthesis and Selfassembly in Solutions”, J. Poly. Sci.: Part A.: Polym. Chem. 2011, 49, 414‐422.

Hinestrosa, J. P.; Alonzo, J.; Osa, M.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Solution Behavior of Polystyrene‐ Polyisoprene Miktoarm Block Copolymers in a Selective Solvent for Polyisoprene”, Macromolecules 2010, 43, 7294‐7304.

Verduzco, R.; Luchette, P.; Hong, S. H.; Harden, J.; DiMasi, E.; Palfy‐Muhoray, P.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Sprunt, S.; Gleeson, J. T.; Jakli, A. “Bent‐Core Liquid Crystal Elastomers”, J. Mater. Chem. 2010, 20, 8488‐8495.

Tosh, D. K.; Yoo, L. S.; Chinn, M.; Hong, K.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Barrett, M. O.; Fricks, I. P.; Harden, T. K.; Gao, Z.‐G.; Jacobson, K. A. “Polyamidoamine (PAMAM) Dendrimer Conjugates of “Clickable” Agonists of the A3 Adenosine Receptor and Coactivation of the P2Y14 Receptor by a Tethered Nucleotide”, Bioconj. Chem. 2010, 21, 372‐384.

Hinestrosa, J. P.; Alonzo, J.; Mays, J.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Role of Surface Reorganization on Preferential Adsorption of Macromolecular Ensembles at the Solid/Fluid Interface”, Macromolecules 2009, 42, 7913–7918. Alonzo, J.; Mays, J. W.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Forces of Interaction between Surfaces Bearing Looped Polymer Brushes in Good Solvent”, Soft Matter 2009, 5, 1897‐1904.

Rahane, S. B.; Floyd, J. A.; Metters, A. T. Kilbey, S. M. II "Swelling Behaviour of Multiresponsive Poly(methacrylic acid)-block-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Brushes Synthesized Using Surface-Initiated Photoiniferter-Mediated Photopolymerization", Advanced Functional Materials 2008, in press.

Huang, Z.; Alonzo, J.; Liu, M.; Lay, M.; Ji, H.; Zhang, Y.; Yin, F.; Smith, G. D.; Mays, J. W.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Dadmun, M. D. "Density Profile of "Looped" Triblock Copolymer Brushes at the Liquid-Solid Interfaces By Neutron Reflectivity Measurements", Macromolecules 2008, 41, 1745-1752.

Ji, H.; Sakellariou, G.; Advincula, R. C.; Smith, G. D.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Dadmun, M. D.; Mays, J. W. "Synthesis and Characterization of Well-defined [Polystyrene-b-poly(2-vinylpyridine)]n Star-Block Copolymers with Poly(2-vinylpyridine) Corona Blocks", J. Poly. Sci.: Part A. Polym. Chem. 2007, 45(17), 3949-3955.

Yin, F.; Bedrov, D.; Smith, G. D.; Kilbey, S. M. II "A Langevin Dynamics Simulation Study of the Tribology of Polymer Loop Brushes", J. Chem. Phys. 2007, 127, 084910.

Ji, H.; Farmer, B. S.; Nonidez, W. K.; Advincula, R. C.; Smith, G. D.; Kilbey, S. M. II; Dadmun, M. D.; Mays, J. W.; "Anionic Synthesis of Epoxy End-Capped Polymers", Macromol. Chem. Phys. 2007, 208, 807-814.

Sankhe, A. Y.; Husson, S. M.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Direct Polymerization of Surface-Tethered Polyelectrolyte Layers in Aqueous Solution via Surface-Confined ATRP”, J. Poly. Sci. Part A.: Polym. Chem. 2007, 4, 566-575.

Rahane, S. B.; Metters, A. T.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Impact of Added Tetraethyliuram Disulfide Deactivator on the Kinetics of Growth and Reinitiation of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Brushes Made by Surface-Initiated Photoiniferter-Mediated Photopolymerization”, Macromolecules 2006, 39, 8987-8991.

Alonzo, J.; Huang, Z.; Liu, M.; Mays, J. W.; Toomey, R. G.; Dadmun, M. D.; Kilbey, S. M. II “Looped Polymer Brushes Formed by Self Assembly of Poly(2-vinylpyridine)-polystyrene-poly(2-vinylpyridine) Triblock Copolymers at the Solid-Fluid Interface. 1. Kinetics of Preferential Adsorption”, Macromolecules 2006, 39, 8434-8439.

Sankhe, A. Y.; Husson, S. M.; Kilbey II, S. M. Effect of Catalyst Deactivation on Polymerization of Electrolytes by Surface-Confined Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization in Aqueous Solutions,Macromolecules 2006, 39, 1376-1383.

Forster, A. M.; Mays, J. W.; Kilbey II, S. M. Effect of Temperature on the Shearing of Polystyrene Brushes,Journal of Polymer Science: Part B- Polymer Physics 2006, 44, 649-654.

Mike Kilbey

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