Ned B. Bowden

Ned B. Bowden
Associate Professor
W425 CB
  • B.S., California Institute of Technology (1994)
  • Ph.D., Harvard University (1999)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Stanford University (2000-2002)

Polymer chemistry; synthesis of nanometer-sized wires and objects; self-assembled polymers and applications in photonics, drug delivery, and catalysis; ultrahigh molecular weight polymers; self-assembled monolayers on gold and silicon; synthesis of biological sensors and nanoelectronics.

Research Interests: 

Self-assembly is a tremendously useful technique that is found in almost every area of molecular science. Examples of natural systems that self-assemble include single stranded DNA that self-assembles into duplexes, phospholipids that self-assemble into a lipid bilayer, and long chains of amino acids that self-assemble into proteins with a defined three-dimensional shape. We are interested in studying the process of self-assembly from the molecular to the micron size range and to use self-assembling techniques developed in our group to study problems in polymer and material science. We will synthesize molecules and study their supramolecular properties.

The research in our group will focus on three areas: polymers, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), and mesoscale self-assembly (MESA). Bottlebrush polymers are a new and interesting set of polymers; they have regularly and densely spaced polymeric arms along the backbone. Steric crowding elongates the backbone; in fact, the polymer resembles a rigid rod whereas traditional linear polymers have an ill-defined globular shape. We will synthesize these polymers and study their self-assembly in solution and in the solid phase.

Self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiols on gold are an excellent model system to study and control surface chemistry. Since their discovery in the 1980’s SAMs have been used as a substrate to grow cells, study protein adsorption, pattern the flow of fluids, provide etch resistance, act as sensors for small molecules, and attach DNA libraries. Alkanethiols form polycrystalline monolayers on the surface of gold, both the process and the result of the self-assembly have been studied. We will synthesize a new set of thiols that will assemble into an unordered monolayer and exhibit lateral diffusion. These surfaces will be responsive, self-healing, and models for cell membranes.

MESA is a new area of self-assembly where objects, not molecules, are self-assembled. We will study the self-assembly of nanometer- and micrometer-sized objects by controlling their surface chemistry to direct their assembly.

The research in our group will be interdisciplinary and cooperative both inside and outside of the group. The borders between traditional areas of chemistry are increasingly being eroded and scientists that can work in this environment are needed. Students trained in this group will receive a strong foundation in traditional synthetic techniques and analysis (NMR, IR, and mass spectroscopy), microscopy (electron, confocal, and fluorescent), and surface chemistry.

Recent Publications: 
  • Yoo, J.; Kuruvilla, D. J.; D’Mello, S. R.; Salem, A. K.; Bowden, N. B. “New class of biodegradable polymers formed from reactions of an inorganic functional group” Macromolecules, 2012, 45, 2292-2300.
  • Yoo, J.; D’Mello, S. R.; Graf, T.; Salem, A. K.; Bowden, N. B. “Synthesis of the first poly(diaminosulfide)s and an investigation of their applications as drug delivery vehicles” Macromolecules, 2012, 45, 688-697. 
  • Krawczyk, B. M.; Baltrusaitis, J.; Yoder, C. M.; Vargo, T. G.; Bowden, N. B.; Kader, K. “Radio frequency glow discharge-induced acidification of fluoropolymers” Journal of Biomedical Research Part A, 2011, 99, 418-425.
  • Gupta, A.; Rethwisch, D. G.; Bowden, N. B. “Retention of palladium and phosphine ligands using nanoporous polydicyclopentadiene membranes” Chemical Communications, 2011, 46, 10236-10238.
  • Yoo, J.; Runge, M. B.; Bowden, N. B. “Synthesis of complex architectures of comb block copolymers and their assembly in the solid state” Polymers, 2011, 52, 2499-2504.
  • Graf, T. A.; Anderson, T. K.; Bowden, N. B. “Extended lifetimes of gold(III) chloride catalysts using copper(II) chloride and 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO)” Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis, 2011, 353, 1033-1038.
  • Long, T. R.; Gupta, A.; Miler II, A. L.; Rethwisch, D. G.; Bowden, N. B. “Selective flux of organic liquids and solids using nanoporous membranes of polydicyclopentadiene” J. Mater. Chem. 2011, 21, 14265-14276. (Invited article for a special issue Material Chemistry of Nanofabrication)
  • Long, T. R.; Bowden, N. B. “PDMS thimbles” Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.,; Posted online: September 15, 2011.  
  • Byun, M.; Bowden, N. B.; Lin, Z. “Hierarchically ordered structures engineered from controlled evaporative self-assembly“ Nano Letters 2010, 51, 368-369.
  • Perring, M.; Long, T. R.; Bowden, N. B. “Epoxidation of the surface of polydicyclopentadiene for the self-assembly of organic monolayers” J. Mater. Chem. 2010, 20, 8679-8685.
  • Byun, M.; Han, W.; Qui, F.; Bowden, N. B.; Lin, Z. “Hierarchically ordered structures enabled by controlled evaporative self-assembly” Small 2010, 6, 2250-2255.
  • Zhao, L.; Goodman, M. D.; Bowden, N. B.; Lin, Z. “Self-assembly of an ultra-high-molecular-weight comb block copolymer at the air-water interface” Soft Matter 2009, 5, 4698-4703.
  • Miller II, A. L.; Bowden, N. B. “Simple site-isolation of up to >99.998% of PdCl2 and its recycling with PDMS thimbles” J. Org. Chem. 2009, 74, 4834-4840.
  • Runge, M. B.; Yoo, J.; Bowden, N. B “Synthesis of Comb Tri- and Tetrablock Copolymers Catalyzed by the Grubbs First Generation Catalyst” Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 2009, 30, 1392-1398.
  • Mwangi, M. T.; Schulz, M. D.; Ned B. Bowden “Cascade Reactions with Grubbs’ Catalyst and AD-mix-a/b Using PDMS Thimbles” Organic Letters, 2009, 11, 33-36.