Timothy M. Swager
Timothy Manning Swager
July 1, 1961
|Education|| Montana State University (BS) |
California Institute of Technology (PhD)
|Fields||Chemistry, Materials science, Polymer science|
|Institutions||University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Thesis||Precursor routes to conducting polymers from the ring-opening metathesis polymerization of cyclic olefins. (1988)|
|Doctoral advisor||Robert H. Grubbs|
|Other academic advisors||Mark S. Wrighton|
Timothy M. Swager (born 1961) is an American Scientist and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is at the interface of chemistry and materials science, with specific interests in carbon nanomaterials, polymers, and liquid crystals. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors.
A native of Sheridan Montana, Swager earned his BS in Chemistry from Montana State University, received a PhD from the California Institute of Technology working with Robert H. Grubbs, and performed postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Mark S. Wrighton. He began as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and returned to MIT in 1996 as a Full Professor. Swager is best known for advancing new chemical sensing concepts based on molecular electronic principles. He introduced the concepts of charge and energy transport through molecular and nanowires as a method to create amplified signals to chemical events.These methods gave rise to the sensitive explosive sensors that have been commercialized under the trade name Fido. He demonstrated the integration of molecular recognition into chemiresistive sensors, first with conducting polymers and later with carbon nanotubes, and these methods were first commercialized by C2Sense. He is also the cofounder of PolyJoule Inc. that produces organic batteries for stationary energy storage, and founded Xibus Systems that is developing improved methods for pathogenic bacteria detection in food production.
Swager also has pioneering contributions to the areas of liquid crystals demonstrating how novel molecular shapes can be used to introduce intermolecular correlations in structures and alignment.In the area of high strength materials, by creating interlocking structures with enhanced ductility and strength. In carbon nanomaterials he has developed methods for functionalizing and/or dispersing graphenes and carbon nanotubes. Also he has designed novel radical materials in collaboration with Robert G. Griffin (MIT) for dynamic nuclear polarization to enhance the signal to noise ratio in NMR experiments. A number of these enhancement agents are commercially available from DyNuPol Corp. Swager has published more than 500 peer reviewed manuscripts and has more than 100 issued patents. As of March 2023, he has a Hirsch index of 117.
Polythiophenes (PTs) are polymerized thiophenes, a sulfur heterocycle. The parent PT is an insoluble colored solid with the formula (C4H2S)n. The rings are linked through the 2- and 5-positions. Poly(alkylthiophene)s have alkyl substituents at the 3- or 4-position(s). They are also colored solids, but tend to be soluble in organic solvents.
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The Fido explosives detector is a battery-powered, handheld sensory device that uses amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP) materials to detect trace levels of high explosives like trinitrotoluene (TNT). It was developed by Nomadics, a subsidiary of ICX Technologies, in the early 2000s as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Dog's Nose program. The Fido explosives detector is considered the first artificial nose capable of detecting landmines in the real world. The device was named after its ability to detect explosive vapors at concentrations of parts per quadrillion, which is comparable to the sensitivity of a bomb-sniffing dog’s nose, i.e. the historical “gold standard” for finding concealed explosives.
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