Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2021

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Materials Science & Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Iron rust is a type of corrosion product, coming from the chemical reaction between iron and oxygen in the presence of water that first documented ca. 800 BCE. It is a heterogeneous inorganic solid-state material composed of multiple phases and is ubiquitous throughout the universe. Rust species such as Hematite (α-Fe2O3), Akaganeite (β-FeOOH), and ferrous hydroxide (Fe(OH)2), make up the solid-state chemical family composed of iron oxides, oxyhydroxides, and hydroxides that are typically recognized as chemical waste. Conducting polymer is a type of organic plastic composed of long chains with repeating subunits that bonding with strong interactions between neighboring molecules. Unlike conventional insulating plastics, conducting polymers possess a unique molecular structure with an electronically conjugated backbone, enabling electron freely to travel interchain and intrachain, and such subject received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. This work introduces a unique synthetic strategy that advances the state-of-the-art chemical synthesis of nanostructured conducting polymers by utilizing “waste” material rust, named rust-based vapor-phase polymerization (RVPP). The unique conversion between inorganic rust and organic conducting polymer leads to controlled depositions of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) and polypyrrole (PPy) nanostructures, including fibers, rods, flakes, and thin films. Owing to the high conductivity, large surface area, and tunable band gap, nanostructured conducting polymers provide promising applications in energy storage, photovoltaics, sensing, CO2 photoreduction, and antimicrobial field.


English (en)


Julio M. D'Arcy

Committee Members

Young-Shin Jun, Vijay Ramani, Bryce Sadtler, Srikanth Singamaneni,