Watkins Research Group

Watkins Research Group

Phone: 413-545-2569
Email: watkins@polysci.umass.edu

Meet the Watkins Group!

Degree Information:

B.S. Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987
M.S. Chemical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 1988
PhD Polymer Science & Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1997

Mailing Address:

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room: A616, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Research Interests

Macromolecular templates for functional device structures, materials synthesis and processing in supercritical fluids, phase behavior and transport in multi-component polymer systems, scalable fabrication of nanostructure materials.

Click here to read about Metaoptics Research in Our Group.
Click here to read about Myrias Optics, Inc. A UMass start-up that is paving the way for commercialization of metalenses and AR/VR optics.
Click here to learn about the new $25 Million Advanced Print and Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.
Click here to see a Science Nation report on the Assembly Line of the Future.
Click here to see a Boston Globe report on how this impacts medical sensors.
Click here to see Channel 25 Boston coverage of the Boston Globe report.

Current Research

Our team is comprised of graduate students, post-docs and senior scientists with diverse technical backgrounds including polymer science and engineering, materials science, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and chemistry. We develop, characterize and utilize nanoscale and hybrid materials for the fabrication of devices that exploit the unique properties of the materials that we create. Our approaches include direct imprint patterning of device structures using nanoparticle-based inks, additive driven self-assembly with brush block copolymers and other templates in which interactions among each of the components are designed to overcome barriers to creating well-ordered systems, materials chemistry through photothermal processing and the creation of large area nanostructured materials and devices through scalable manufacturing approaches, including roll-to-roll process platforms. We support this work with fundamental studies of phase behavior and transport in soft condensed matter systems and the dynamics of processes used in materials synthesis. Our science is then adapted to practical fabrication/manufacturing schemes for device applications including energy generation and storage, flexible electronics, metamaterials and sensors. The UMass Amherst Advanced Print and Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing facility provides a unique resource for scaling our process technology for manufacturing, resulting in technology transfer to commercial partners for several of our applications.

Honors and Distinctions:

  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (2021)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2012)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Bourdeaux/ICMCB CNRS (2012)
  • External Advisory Board, NASA Center for Advanced Nanoscale Materials, UPR
  • Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship (2009)
  • Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments and Creative Activity (2007)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2000-2005)
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering (1998-2003)
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (1998-2002)
  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award (1998 - 2003)
  • Unilever Award, American Chemical Society for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering (1998)
  • Arthur K. Doolittle Award, Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering, American Chemical Society (1996)