Principal Investigator:

Dr. Nicole S. Zacharia

nicole zacharia

2013-present: Assistant Professor, University of Akron

2009-2013: Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University


Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto, (2009)
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007)
B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001)

Contact: Phone: 330-972-8248        Email:

Our group uses the directed assembly of polyelectrolytes and colloids via the Layer-by-Layer (LbL) method of film deposition to create films and coatings with novel properties and responsiveness. We examine properties such as surface wetting, mechanical response to external stimuli, and various strategies for mechanica toughening. We are also interested in solution behavior of polyelectrolyte complexes and various strategies for processing these complexes into thin films.


Postdoc Fellow:

Dr. Yuanqing Gu:


Ph.D. Zhejiang University (2013)

B.S. Fudan University (2008)

Hometown: Shanghai, P.R.China


Research interest:

Layer-by-Layer Assembly, Surface Coatings, Polyelectrolytes, Sol-Gel Process, Self-Assembly, Photocatalysis, Swelling behavior of polyelectrolyte multilayers, Mechanical transition of polymeric films,  Stimuli-responsive actuators, Humidity sensors.

Ph.D Students:

Emily Weinheimer

Emily WeinheimerEducation:

B.S. University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (2013)

Hometown: Buffalo, NY.

Research interest: Polymer complexes, 3D printing utilizing fused deposition modelling, cellulose nanoparticles, water pinning surfaces





Huan Zhang

Huan Zhang


M.S. University of Akron (2014)

B.E. East China University of  Science and Technology (2009)

Hometown: Inner Mongolia

Research interest: Metal ion interactions in layer by layer (LBL) assembly of polyelectrolyte, thermodynamic and kinetic properties of polyelectrolyte complexes, electrophoretic deposition ( EPD) of polyelectrolyte complexes.





Geyuanjian (Harry) Zhu

Geyunjian Zhu's Profile Photo


B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hometown: Hangzhou, P.R. China

Research interests: Polyelectrolyte multilayer thin films, Surface wettability, Hydrogels


Chi Zhang

Chi ZhangEducation:

M.S. University of Akron (2015)

B.E. East China University of Science and Technology (2010)

Hometown: Shenyang, P.R.China

Research interest: Liquid infused polyelectrolyte mutilayer films (PEMs), steamphobic PEMs, self-cleaning/anti-fouling PEMs


Master Students:

Chao Li

Chao LiEducation

B.S. Sichuan University (2011)

Hometown: Taiyuan, P.R. China

Research interest: Adhesion property of wet polyelectrolyte multilayer films (PEMs)


Current: PhD student at Ohio State Univeristy.




Xiang Ji

Xiang JiEducation:

B.S. Beijing University of Chemical Technology (2014)

Hometown: Qingdao, P.R. China

Research interest: Self-cleaning surfaces using raspberry-like particles, oil-water separation





Yingfan Zhong

Yingfan ZhongEducation:

B.S. Beijing University of Chemical Technology (2014)

Hometown: Nantong, P.R. China

Research interest: Layer-by-layer assembly, Polyelectrolytes, Oil/water separations





Yubing Ma

Yubing MaEducation:

B.S. Beijing University of Chemical Technology (2014)

Hometown: Harbin, P.R. China

Research interest: Contraction of Weak Polyelectrolyte Multilayers in Response to Various Organic Solvents





Dr. Hsiu-chin Huang



Ph.D. Texas A&M University (2014)

M.S. National Chiao-Tung University Taiwan (2005)

B.S. National Chiao-Tung University (2003)

Hometown: Kaohsiung, Taiwan




Dr. Xiayun Huang


PhD. Texas A&M University (2014)

M.S. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2010)

B.S. Donghua University (2007)

Hometown: Shanghai, P.R. China

Current work: Assistant Professor at Fudan University’s Department of Macromolecular Science.

Research interest: Self-assembly via colloidal liquid crystal phase transition, Nanosheet self-assembly via microfluidics.




Chungyeon Cho


Ph.D. Texas A&M University (2013)

M.S. Seoul National University (2008)

B.S. Konkuk University (2006)

Hometown: Seoul, South of Korea

Current work: Postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University

Research interest: Stretchable Gas Barrier LbL Films, Thermoelectric Organic Nanocomposites

Lihua Xu



M.S. Univiersity of Akron (2015)

B.S. Beijing University of Chemical Technology (2010)

Hometown: Yangzhou, P.R. China

Current: PhD student at University of California, Riverside.






Dr. Mehdi Lohrasbi


Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Polymer Engineering, The University of Akron

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, The University of Akron

M.Sc., Chemical Engineering, University of Borås, Borås – Sweden

B.Sc., Chemical Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology (IUT), Isfahan – Iran

Hometown: Tehran-Iran