Stephanie L. Wunder
B.S. Barnard College, Columbia University
Post-doctoral fellow ('78-'80) Naval Research Lab
Inorganic / Materials
Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries
There is increasing demand for the development of safe, high capacity electrical energy storage devices such as lithium/lithium ion batteries for use in electric vehicles and for storage of energy generated by wind, solar and nuclear sources. Our research focuses on the development of solid polymer electrolytes with high room temperature ionic conductivity and high lithium ion transport numbers through self-assembly of novel polyoctahedral silsesquioxane lithium salts in polyethylene oxide matrices.
Composites made from inorganic nanoparticles in polymer matrices can exhibit improved mechanical properties and, if the nanoparticles are uniform and repel each other, optical properties such as Bragg diffraction of light. Our research in this area focuses on characterizing polymers absorbed onto nanoparticles and the solid composites made from ordered arrays of nanoparticles.
Supported Lipid Bilayer Formation on Nanoparticles
Nanoparticles are increasing utilized for drug delivery and sensing application as a result of their high surface/volume ratios. With the increased use of nanoparticles come concerns about possible adverse health and environmental effects. Our research in this area concerns the interaction of lipids with nanoparticles. The nanoparticles have well defined geometries, so that packing of lipids on high curvature surfaces can be investigated. We investigate the effects of headgroup type, hydrocarbon chain length, degree of unsaturation on the packing of lipids onto the nanoparticles as a function of size. We also investigate the ionic strength and pH dependence of the stability of these nanosystems, since in delivery or sensing applications, they should remain suspended.