Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dr. Kaitlyn E. Crawford
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Flexible Sensors to Yield Thermal Properties of Skin; and a New Path to Polyolefin Elastomers
Thursday, March 9, 2017
to 3:30 PM
210 Herzstein Hall
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA
The development and application of soft, conformal electronic sensors for use at the biological
interface (e.g. thermal sensors for skin, flexible strain gauges, blood flow monitors) toward real-time
monitoring of physiological phenomena have become of increasing interest as we approach the age of
wearable electronics. One example in particular, is to employ basic principles of epidermal electronics
toward the micro-fabrication of thermal sensors that are designed to measure the local thermal
conductivity and temperature changes of skin with milli-Kelvin precision. The goal is to gain useful
information about the vasculature of the underlying tissue – a critical detail when considering dynamic
skin conditions such as diabetic ulcers, athletic injury and beyond.
In a parallel topic, the encapsulating elastomeric substrate is a critical component related to the
durability and conformal nature of implantable flexible-electronics. Here, an alternative synthetic
route is considered toward the development of a new class of polyolefin thermoplastic elastomers.
The goal is to target the macroscopic materials properties of interest – low modulus elastomers –
then systematically tune the microscopic contribution of polymer chains (i.e. molecular structure and
microphase separation) to achieve the desired bulk behavior from the bottom-up.
Biography of Dr. Kaitlyn E. Crawford:
Dr. Crawford is currently a postdoctoral researcher with joint affiliation at the Northwestern University
Center for Bio-integrated Electronics, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Department
of Materials Science and Engineering, both within the research group of Prof. John Rogers. In the
Rogers group, Dr. Crawford is engaged in cross-disciplinary research that involves flexible electronics,
materials chemistry, and engineering for use in a wide range of translational human health applications.
She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park in consultation with
Prof. Lawrence Sita in 2015. Her doctoral work was focused on modulating the chemical architecture
of polyolefin block copolymers for use as thermoplastic elastomers. Prior to that, Dr. Crawford received
her M.S. in Chemistry at the North Carolina State University with Prof. Christopher Gorman in 2009 with
research emphasis on biodegradable polymer brushes. She holds dual B.S. degrees in Chemistry
and Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Over the years of academic training
Dr. Crawford has received numerous awards in research and teaching, of which she is the recipient
of the 2015 Board of Visitors Outstanding Graduate Research award from the College of Computer,
Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland – the highest graduate student
accolade within that College.