Research activities in the Holley group focus on the specialization of chemistry known as polymer chemistry. Specifically, they are pursuing the following two projects:
1. Recently, researchers have discovered that confinement of polymers on the nanometer scale changes a fundamental property of the material known as the glass transition temperature (Tg). This property largely determines the usefulness of a material, and we seek to both understand the nature of the changes to the Tg induced by nanoscale confinement as well as manipulate these conditions to tune a material to the desired Tg.
2. The category of materials known as polymer photovoltaics enable the harvesting of light energy and conversion of that energy into electricity. These materials have low cost and solution processability as their primary advantage over more efficient inorganic materials, though their monomers often cost more than $50 a gram. Our research focus in this area concerns attempts to convert commodity polymers into useful conducting polymers via post-polymerization modification to change the chemical structure of the polymer.