Research Interests

The research in my group focuses on the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of nanostructured polymeric systems. The direction of our research is motivated by a combination of fundamental and practical implications. Several central research themes include manipulating polymers with light for micropatterning or modulating physical properties (e.g., by photopolymerizations or reversible light activated reactions), exploiting and understanding structure or molecular dynamics arising from confining polymers to the nanoscale, engineering bioinspired/bioderived materials or materials processes and sub-20 nm lithography using self-assembled thin film polymer templates. An important aspect of our laboratory is the use of well-established synthetic chemistries (anionic and controlled free-radical polymerization, basic monomer synthesis, etc.) to control all aspects of molecular architecture. This critical framework is required for establishing quantitative relationships in complex multi-scale materials. We also work closely with other research groups focused on theory and simulation to both guide and advance our understanding of the experiments when appropriate.


  • Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research from the Welch Foundation (2016)
  • Best Paper Award - International Conference on Photopolymer Science and Technology, Japan (2015)
  • Owens Corning Early Career Award from AIChE MESD (2014)
  • Young Investigator of the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society (2014)
  • Plenary Lecture, Emerging Areas in Polymer Science and Engineering, Area 8A Polymers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Meeting (2013)
  • DuPont Young Professor Award (2012)
  • 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2012)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2010)
  • Contributed as one of “Twenty-five of the profession’s thought-leaders” to AIChE’s Centennial Chemical Engineering Progress issue article titled “Chemical Engineering in the Next 25 Years” (2008)
  • Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for Excellence in Polymer Physics Research, APS Division of Polymer Physics (2005)

Selected Publications

  • Synthesis and Gas Permeability of Highly Elastic Poly(dimethylsiloxane)/Graphene Oxide Composite Elastomers using Telechelic Polymers, H. Ha, J. Park, K. Ha, B.D. Freeman, and C.J. Ellison, Polymer, 93, 53-60 (Apr. 2016)
  • A Comparative Parameter Study: Controlling Fiber Diameter and Diameter Distribution in Centrifugal Spinning of Photocurable Monomers, Y. Fang, A.R. Dulaney, J. Gadley, J. Maia, and C.J. Ellison, Polymer, 88, 102-111 (Feb. 2016).
  • (invited) Photopatterning of Block Copolymer Thin Films, A.P. Lane, M.J. Maher, C.G.Willson, and C.J. Ellison, ACS Macro Letters, 5, 460-465 (Jan. 2016).
  • Directed Self-assembly of Block Copolymers Using Chemical Patterns with Sidewall Guiding Lines, Backfilled with Random Copolymer Brushes, G. Pandev, W.J. Durand, C.J. Ellison, C.G. Willson, and V. Ganesan, Soft Matter, 11, 9107-9114 (Aug. 2015).
  • Bioinspired Catecholic Flame Retardant Nanocoating for Flexible Polyurethane Foams, J.H. Cho, V. Vasager, K. Shanmuganathan, S. Nazarenko, and C.J. Ellison, Chemistry of Materials, 27, 6784–6790 (Aug. 2015).
  • Bidirectional Control of Flow in Thin Polymer Films by Photochemically Manipulating Surface Tension, C.B. Kim, D.W. Janes, S.X. Zhou, A.R. Dulaney, and C.J. Ellison, Chemistry of Materials, 27, 4538–4545 (Jun. 2015).
  • Mechanically Stable Thermally Crosslinked Poly(Acrylic Acid)/Reduced Graphene Oxide Aerogels, H. Ha, K. Shanmuganathan, and C.J. Ellison, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 7, 6220–6229 (Feb. 2015).
  • Precision Marangoni-Driven Patterning, T. Arshad, C.B. Kim, N. Prisco, J.M. Katzenstein, D.W. Janes, R.T. Bonnecaze and C.J. Ellison, Soft Matter, 10, 8043-8050 (Aug. 2014).
  • Polarity-switching Polymer Top Coats Enable Orientation of Sub-10 nm Block Copolymer Domains, C.M. Bates, T. Seshimo, M.J. Maher, W.J. Durand, J.D. Cushen, L.M. Dean, G.Blachut, C.J. Ellison and C.G. Willson, Science, 338, 775-779 (Nov. 2012).
Chris Ellison in Lab


Phone: 612/626-9834

Office: 384 Amundson Hall

Ellison Group Research Site

Give To Christopher Ellison's Research

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Iowa State University (2000)
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University (2005)