Combinatorial Material Mechanics: High-Throughput Polymer Synthesis and Nanomechanical Screening


  • The authors thank Drs. J. F. Smith and S. Goodes of MicroMaterials, Limited for assistance with software modifications of the nanoindenter employed herein, as well as M. J. Cima for helpful discussion and constructive criticism. C. A. T. gratefully acknowledges support through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship program. D. G. A. and R. L. acknowledge support from NIH grant #RO1DE016516-01 and 4.1 Switchable Surfaces by the U.S. Army Research Office (contract #DAAD-19-02D002) through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT. The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


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Combinatorial materials science requires parallel advances in materials characterization. A high-throughput nanoscale synthesis/nanomechanical profiling approach capable of accurately screening the mechanical properties of 1,700 photopolymerizable materials (see Figure, scale bar: 100 μm) within a large, discrete polymer library is presented. This approach enables rapid correlation of polymer composition, processing, and structure with mechanical performance metrics.