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Alan Esker

Professor & Graduate Program Director
480C Davidson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Education & Appointments:
B.S. University of Wisconsin, 1991
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1996
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1999-2005
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 2005-present

Faculty Honors:
Cook Teaching Award, VT Chemistry, 2006
NSF CAREER Award, 2003-2008
3M Untenured Faculty Award, 2002
Omnova Solutions Signature University Award, 2000

Research Interests:
My group focuses on the use of solution casting, spin-coating, self-assembly, and the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique to explore the physical chemical aspects of polymer dynamics in confined geometries and at surfaces and interfaces. These systems are ideal for studying contemporary issues affecting nanotechnology like nanofiller reinforcement in polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS)/polymer nanocomposites, magnetic nanoparticle-lipid interactions for drug delivery systems, and biomimetic engineering of cellulose/polymer interfaces in composites. Characterization of these phenomena is accomplished through neutron scattering and X-ray reflectivity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and dynamic mechanical and thermal analysis (DMTA), rheology, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), surface light scattering (SLS), the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) technique, ellipsometry, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and optical (OM), fluorescence (FM), atomic force (AFM), scanning electron (SEM), transmission electron (TEM), and Brewster angle (BAM) microscopy at Virginia Tech.

Selected Publications:

  1. "A Facile High-Speed Vibration Milling Method to Water-Disperse Single-Walled Carbon Nanohorns," Shu, C.Y.; Zhang, J.; Ge, J.; Sim, J. H.; Burke, B.; Williams, K.; Rylander, N.; Campbell, T. Puretzky, A.; Rouleau, C.;Geohegan, D.; More, K.; Esker, A.; Gibson, H.; Dorn, H., Chem. Mater. 2010, 22(2), 347-351.

  2. "Optical Characterization of Cellulose Derivatives via Multiple Incident Media Ellipsometry," U. Karabiyik, M. Mao, M. Roman, T. Jaworek, G. Wegner, and A. R. Esker, A.C.S. Symposium Series No. 1019, Model Cellulosic Surfaces, M. Roman, Ed., Chapter 6, pp. 137-155 (2009).

  3. "Surface Plasmon Resonance Studies of Pullulan and Pullulan Cinnamate Adsorption onto Cellulose," A. Kaya, X. Du, Z. Liu, J. W. Lu, J. R. Morris, W. G. Glasser, T. Heinze, and A. R. Esker Biomacromolecules 2009, 10(9), 2451-2459.

  4. "Facile Preparation of a New Gadofullerene-Based Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agent with High 1H Relaxivity," Shu, C.; Corwin, F. D.; Zhang, J.; Reid, J. E.; Sun, M.; Xu, W.; Sim, J. H.; Wang, C.; Fatouros, P. P.; Esker, A. R.; Gibson, H. W.; Dorn, H. C., Bioconjugate Chem 2009, 20(6), 1186-1193

  5. "Surface Rheology of Trisilanolisobutyl-POSS at the Air/Water Interface," W. Yin, J. Deng, and A. R. Esker, Langmuir 2009, 25(13), 7181-7184.