Department of Chemistry
A headshot

James Batteas
D. Wayne Goodman Professor in Chemistry

Other Affiliations
Materials Science & Engineering

Department of Chemistry
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3255

P: 979-458-2965
F: 979-845-4719

Researcher ID

Current Activities

The research in our group is organized around three main projects:

  1. nanoscale materials and devices,
  2. biological surfaces and interfaces and
  3. nanotribology

with the overarching goal of developing custom engineered surfaces and interfaces. This requires obtaining a fundamental (molecular level) understanding of the underlying chemistry and physics of the systems in question to afford rational approaches to test and develop new technologies. In much of our research we employ a range of scanned probe microscopies such as scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to probe structure and to manipulate materials at the nanoscale.

Nanoscale Materials and Devices - Top down + bottom up

In this work we are interested in developing approaches for the design and assembly of nanoscale materials and devices for molecular electronic, photonic and sensor applications. In our work we utilize a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to control and manipulate materials on the nanoscale. In much of our work we take advantage of self-organizing materials for the design of robust structures, which can be manipulated and controlled through the engineering of specific inter-molecular forces and chemical interactions with surfaces. We combine self-assembly with soft-lithographic and scanned probe lithographic techniques to enable the design of nanoscale test architectures. These include confined molecular assemblies for molecular electronics, polymer-metal heterojunctions for organic electronics and nanoscale metallic structures for plasmonic devices.

Spatially Confined Chemistry

By using scanned probe lithographies surface patterns can be generated to provide templates for self-assembly. This provides approaches to study chemistry in spatially confined geometries nd to build and test nanodevices.

Y.-H. Chan, A.E. Schuckman, L.M. Pérez, M. Vinodu, C.M. Drain and J.D. Batteas, "Synthesis and Characterization of Thiol Tethered Tri-pyridyl Porphrin on Au(111)," J. Phys. Chem. C.112 (2008) 610-618.

M. Jurow, A.E. Schuckman, J.D. Batteas and C.M. Drain, "Porphyrins as Molecular Electronic Components of Functional Devices," Coordination Chemistry Reviews 254 (2010) 2297-2310.

Plasmonics - Enhanced Chemical Sensing

The wedding of electronics and optics research has lead to the development of the area known as plasmonics. Here we are interested in the controlled placement of metallic nanostructures to create plasmon enhanced devices such as optical sources and detectors.

Y.-H. Chan, J. Chen, S.E. Wark, S.L. Skiles, D.-H. Son and J.D. Batteas, Using Patterned Arrays of Metal Nanoparticles to Probe Plasmon Enhanced Luminescence of CdSe Quantum Dots, ACS Nano 3 (2009) 1735-1744.

Patterning of Quantum Dot Assemblies

Patterns of CdSe nanorings were fabricated by using an evaporative templating method. This involves the introduction of an aqueous solution containing both quantum dots and polystyrene microspheres onto the surface of a planar hydrophilic glass substrate. The quantum dots became con?ned to the meniscus of the microspheres during evaporation, which drove ring assembly via capillary forces at the polystyrene sphere/glass substrate interface.

J. Chen, W.-S. Liao, X. Chen, T. Yang, S.E. Wark, D.H. Son, J.D. Batteas, and P.S. Cremer, "Evaporation-Induced Assembly of Quantum Dots into Nanorings," ACS Nano 3 (2009) 173-180.

Lithosynthesis... direct on surface QD optical tuning

We have also developed optical approaches ("lithosynthesis") by which the optical properties of quantum dots (emission intensity and wavelength) can be directly tuned on a surface in a patterned fashion using local photo-oxidation reactions.

Y.-H. Chan, J. Chen, T. Yang, S.E. Wark, D.-H. Son and J.D. Batteas, Spatially Selective Optical Tuning of Quantum Dot Thin Film Luminescence, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131 (2009) 18204-18205.

Nanomaterials by Design

Hierarchical molecular assemblies

By controlling molecular interactions, nanowires of porphyrins can be assembled into nanowires which exhibit semiconducting behavior. We are integrating these materials with carbon nanotubes to create novel solar cell materials.

(a) Porphyrin nanofibers formed from diacids of tetra-carboxyphenyl porphryins. (TCPP) (b) Cryo-TEM image of TCPP nanofibers. (c) Alignment of nanofibers across gate electrodes. (d) Photocurrents in the porphyrin nanofibers.

Shape controlled semiconductors

By tuning the ratio of the surfactants (Oleic acid/oleylamine) and the precursors, reaction temperature and solvents, materials in nano-scale with different shape and size can be synthesized. These materials offer control over optical and magnetic properties of semiconductor nanoparticles.

Optoelectronic Devices from Graphene

Singles atomic layers of graphite (graphene) offer significant potential for new electronics. Here we use SPL to control the shapes of these layers. Raman mapping can be used to follow local chemical changes. Porphyrins bound to graphene can be used to dope the material affording a means of photogating transport.

Nanotribology - Controlling friction on the atomic scale

The details of friction and wear on the nanoscale are of significant consequence for a number of developing technologies including microelectromehanical systems (MEMS) devices. The generation of defects at surfaces in sliding contacts is the catalyst for the eventual wear of the materials. In this project we are investigating the wear of oxide surfaces at the nanoscale, including probing how local environment such as the presence of water impacts the formation and nucleation of defects at the atomic level. Associated with the investigations of friction and wear, we have developed force microscopy studies designed to directly probe the interactions at nanoscale asperities in sliding contacts using AFM. In contrast to the above studies on atomically smooth crystalline surfaces, this approach provides a means to assess adhesion and wear in nanoscale asperity-asperity contacts, which more closely mimic the interactions found between real surfaces in contact. In fact, with sufficiently sharp tips, bond quantization and energetic exchange with solvent becomes visible.

Molecular Dynamics Simulations and FTIR Spectroscopy

Self-repairing films: just add alcohol...

The intercalation of 3-phenyl-1-propanol into disordered SAMs allows for active molecular lubricants to be trapped and activated under pressure...

R.L. Jones, N.C. Pearsall and J.D. Batteas, "Disorder in Alkylsilane Monolayers Assembled on Surfaces with Nanoscopic Curvature," J. Phys. Chem. C. 113 (2009) 4507-4514.

R.L. Jones, B.L. Harrod and J.D. Batteas, "Intercalation of 3-phenyl-1-propoanol into OTS SAMs on Silica Nanoasperties to Create Self-Repairing Films for MEMS Lubrication," Langmuir 26 (2010) 16355-16361.

Educational Background

B.S., 1990, University of Texas at Austin

Ph.D., 1995, University of California at Berkeley

Postdoctoral Fellow 1995-1996, Harvard University

Awards & Recognition

  • College-Level Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching (2013)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2012)
  • Netzch Instruments Frank Giblin Memorial Award in Polymer Analysis (2001)
  • Feliks Gross Endowment Award, CUNY Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001)
  • Research Corporation, Research Innovation Award (1998)

Selected Publications

  • S. Raghuraman, M. B. Elinski, J.D. Batteas and J.R. Felts, "Driving Surface Chemistry at the Nanometer Scale Using Localized Heat and Stress," Nano Lett. 17 (4), 2017, 2111–2117. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03457
  • M.B. Elinski, Z. Liu, J.C. Spear and J.D. Batteas, "2D or not 2D? The impact of Nanoscale Roughness and Substrate Interactions on the Tribological Properties of Graphene and MoS2," J. of Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50 (10), 2017,103003. DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/aa58d6
  • M.B. Elinski, B.D. Menard, Z. Liu and J.D. Batteas, "Adhesion and Friction at Graphene/Self-Assembled Monolayer Interfaces by Atomic Force Microscopy," J. Phys. Chem. C. 121 (10), 2017, 5635-5641. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b00012
  • Pawlicki, E. Avery, M. Jurow, B. Ewers, A. Vilan, C.M. Drain and J.D. Batteas, "Studies of the Structure and Phase Transitions of Nano-confined Petanedithiol and its Applications in Directing Hierarchical Molecular Assemblies on Au," J. of Physics: Cond. Matter 28, 2016, 094013. DOI: 10.1088/0953-8984/28/9/094013
  • A.E. Schuckman, B.W. Ewers, L.H. Yu, J.P.C. Tomé, L.M. Pérez, C.M. Drain, J.G. Kushmerick, and J.D. Batteas, "Unveiling how Nearest-Neighbor Interactions Alter Charge Transport Mechanisms in Molecular Assemblies of Porphyrins on Surfaces," J. Phys. Chem. C. 119, 2015, 13569-13579. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b01223