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Academic Masters Forum No. 16

Title:Tailoring Surfaces with Polymer Chains

Speaker:Prof. Nicholas SPENCER

Date/Time:2022.11.10 15:00-16:00

Location: ZOOM Online meeting room

Inviter:ASSOC. Prof. Jia PEI


Born in the UK, Prof. Nicholas D. Spencer studied at Cambridge University, obtaining his PhD in 1980 from the Department of Physical Chemistry. Subsequently, he spent two years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he investigated the catalysis of ammonia synthesis by iron single crystals. From 1982 until 1993, He worked for W.R. Grace & Co., USA, in the areas of catalysis, and high-temperature superconductors. He was also active as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland during this time. Nicholas D. Spencer was elected Full Professor of Surface Science and Technology at the ETH Zurich in 1993. From 1996-1998 and from 2002-2006 he served as Chairman of the Department of Materials. From 2005-2007 he was the first Director of the ETH Materials Research Center. From 2007 to 2015 he was President of the ETH Research Commission. The principal areas of his research are biocompatibility, tribology, and material surface functionalization and analysis. He is the author of over 400 journal articles on surface functionalization, catalysis, biomaterials, and polymers, and also five books and 15 patents to his name. Nicholas D. Spencer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.


Although there are many ways in which surfaces can be chemically modified for particular applications, the attachment of polymer chains appears to offer both enormous flexibility as well as some unique benefits. From the imparting of biocompatibility, to the modification of surface-mechanical properties such as friction, polymer chains can transform the behavior of a host of different materials' surfaces. Some recent examples from our laboratory will be discussed.

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