McKetta Seminar Series Highlights Ellison’s Polymers Research

 Austin area alumni at the McKetta Seminar Series
Austin-area alumni attended the McKetta Seminar Series at the J.J. Pickle Research Center on June 4.  Department Chair Roger T. Bonnecaze gave an update on the department before introducing Texas ChE Professor Chris Ellison as the keynote speaker.

“It was great to see everyone,” said John J. McKetta, 96-year-old professor emeritus and event host. “The lecture was superb—very informative.”

Ellison gave a presentation, Oligosaccharide/Silicon-containing Block Copolymers for Nanolithography, discussing his collaborative work to develop a new combination of polymers, associating sugars with oil-based macromolecules, to design ultra-thin films capable of self-organization on a scale of 5 nanometers.

This new class of thin films could increase the capacity of hard discs and the speed of microprocessors. They could also lead to numerous applications in flexible electronics, such as nanolithography, biosensors and photovoltaic cells for solar energy.
Chris Ellison presents his work to create a new combination of copolymers
“I enjoyed the talk,” John Butler, B.S. ChE ’59. “I am familiar with the difficulties of smaller and smaller resolutions, however in my day it was in millimeters! The chemical engineering was fascinating, and it always pleases me to see young people advancing the frontiers. It makes me very optimistic about the future.”

Ellison’s team is working with fellow Texas ChE Professor Grant Willson’s team and Redouane Borsali’s group from the Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolécules Végétales in France on the project.

The McKetta Seminar Series is a chance for local alumni to stay connected with the department, hear about ground-breaking research and catch up with fellow alums.

“I always look forward to these meetings,” said Butler. “It’s nice to visit with old friends and learn something new. I think other alumni find it enjoyable. With all the brainpower assembled in one room, the sessions are never dull.”

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