The cutting edge of chemical science research lies in the ability to manipulate and control single molecules. The Schroeder Group uses single-molecule characterization of materials — together with automated synthesis and closed-loop materials discovery — to understand how form and function arise in soft materials. This powerful approach allows for the precise design and development of new functional materials, in problems ranging from lipid membrane dynamics to bioelectronic materials. 

Research in the Schroeder Group is focused on four areas: (1) automated synthesis for closed-loop materials discovery, including “Lego-like” or modular synthesis of organic materials using molecular building blocks, (2) molecular electronics of conjugated molecules, light-harvesting organic molecules, and redox-active materials, in addition to protein nanowires and bioelectronic materials, (3) dynamics of lipid membranes, vesicles, and colloidal particles, including new methods to deform and study soft materials using the Stokes trap, and (4) single polymer dynamics, including entangled solutions and architecturally complex polymers such as rings and branched polymers.

Research Highlights

Automated synthesis & materials discovery    (more…)

Open macromolecular genome: generative design of synthetically accessible polymers
Closed-loop optimization of general reaction conditions
Automated synthesis for single-molecule electronics

ACS Polymers Au, 2023

  Science, 2022   Nature Communications, 2022

Molecular electronics    (more…)

Ladder-type molecules as single-molecule electronic switches
Single-molecule electronics with host-guest complexes
Charge transport in sequence-defined oligomers

Chem, 2023

  JACS, 2022   JACS, 2020

Vesicle & lipid membrane dynamics    (more…)

Non-equilibrium stretching of vesicles in flow
Dynamics of vesicles in oscillatory flows
Flow-phase diagram for lipid vesicles in extensional flow

Langmuir, 2021

  Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2021   Soft Matter, 2020

Stokes Trap    (more…)

3D manipulation and dynamics of soft materials in 3D flows
Orientation control and trajectory tracking with automated flow control
Stokes trap for multiplexed particle manipulation

Journal of Rheology, 2023

  Physical Review Fluids, 2019   PNAS, 2016

Single polymer dynamics      (more…)

Direct observation of ring polymer dynamics in shear flow 
Ring-linear threading events in semi-dilute solutions
Dynamically heterogeneous relaxation of entangled polymer solutions

Macromolecules, 2020

  Nature Communications, 2019   PRL, 2018

Prior Research

DNA data storage

Supramolecular assembly of proteins

Single molecule biophysics & fluorescent proteins