The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes William Ducker, a professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, for his thin films research that has potential medical and consumer applications.
Ducker’s research interests include peptide, polymer, and surfactant adsorption and self-assembly, as well as lubrication in thin films and colloidal stability.
His research group in the College of Engineering is currently focusing on three areas of interest:
Bacterial interactions with solids: topography− the group is looking at the general problem of how bacteria respond to surface topography when they adsorb. The chief application of this research is to understand how to make materials resist the formation of bacterial biofilms. These biofilms form on medical devices, such as catheters, and are a serious health problem. In recent work, the group has examined whether deposition of colloidal crystals inhibits the attachment of bacteria and the growth into biofilms.
Thermal rectifiers and interfacial resistance − in this project, the group is performing research to build and understand thermal rectifiers, or objects that have different heat resistance in opposite directions. The main application is in home heating, where the goal would be houses that on a winter day would allow heat in but would not allow that heat out at night. The research in this area also examines heat transfer in thin films.
Interfacial nanobubbles − The Ducker group is investigating the structure, chemistry and stability of the small bubbles that exist at the interface between water and hydrophobic solids.
Ducker holds an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. from the Australian National University.