Professor Manias received his B.S. degree in Physics from the Aristotle U in Thessaloniki, Greece, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from U. of Groningen, the Netherlands. He subsequently carried out postdoctoral research in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Cornell U, before joining Penn State as an assistant professor in 1998. His research combines theoretical, simulation, and experimental approaches focused on explaining how nanoscale structures affect the macroscopic materials properties in multi-phase polymer systems, and on further designing appropriate structures and functionalities that lead to high-performance novel materials.
This faculty member is associated with the Penn State Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) in Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) where a multitude of perspectives and cross-disciplinary collaboration within research is highly valued. Graduate students in the IGDP in MatSE may work with faculty members from across Penn State.
Professor Manias’ research focuses on the development of new high performance polymers and polymer-composite materials, with approaches spanning the range from basic-science to engineering development of materials designed for specific applications. Such research efforts exploit the unique opportunities afforded by nanoscale structures and nanoscopic components in polymer materials.
More specifically, examples of recent work in Professor Manias’ research group include: Development of high performance polymer/inorganic nanocomposites, involving synthesis, processing, fundamental physics, and engineering design approaches; Design and synthesis of industrially applicable materials, including stimuli-responsive polymers, multifunctional food packaging materials, insulator and dielectric composites with beyond state-of-the-art performance; Atomic force microscopy (AFM) studies, including development of new state-of-the-art instruments and new AFM modes of operation for soft materials; Fundamental understanding of nanoscopically structured polymer dielectrics and electrolytes, based on molecular modeling.
A unique feature of Manias’ research group approach is the concurrent in-depth employment of polymer physics, molecular modeling, synthetic & physical chemistry, and engineering approaches (design, processing, characterization, structure-property relations, and application-driven materials development). The feedback and cross-fertilization between fundamental science, experimental, and engineering approaches offers unprecedented opportunities for fast progress in research, and to date has yielded diverse research breakthroughs that were featured in eminent scientific journals, new technologies that were patented and commercialized, and new advances in materials R&D that were featured in popularized-science books and magazines.
- Polymer/Inorganic nanocomposite materials
- Polymers at surfaces, interfaces, and confinements; structure and dynamics of nano-confined polymers
- Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) studies of polymer surfaces
- Smart/Responsive polymers and soft-condensed matter systems
Technology Impacted By Research:
- Polymer nanocomposites for structural, barrier, packaging, fire resistance, and biomedical applications
- Smart polymers for microfluidics, smart-surfaces, biomedical, biological, and for biodetection and toxic removal
- Molecular modeling for technologies related to lubrication, advanced polymer electrolytes, and fuel cells
- Advanced packaging, defense-related composites, fuel cell membranes.