Queen's University

Dr. Guojun Liu

Professor, Department of Chemistry
LinkedIn profile for Dr. Guojun Liu


I am a Professor of Polymer Materials, in the Department of Chemistry, at Queen's University, and the Canada Research Chair in Materials Science. I earned my PhD and MSc from the University of Toronto, and my BSc from Nankai University, in China. I undertook one of my Post-docs at the University of Toronto, and another at McGill University. I have received numerous awards, including Macromolecular Science and Engineering Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada (2007), the Captain Alfred E. Hunt Award (2011), from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, and the Queen’s Prize for Excellence in Research (2015).

My research interests include polymer synthesis, polymer assembly, polymer architectures, and polymer applications. My research lab, Liu Group, currently focuses on applications of polymer nanostructured materials, including NP-GLIDE coatings and monolayer coatings. The NP-GLIDE coatings that I have recently invented are transparent and adhere well to most surfaces, and repel water, oil, ink, paint and any other liquid. They also reduce fingerprint and smudge deposition, among other benefits. We see their potential in anti-graffiti and anti-fingerprint applications. The coating will also be useful in reducing friction when applied on ship hulls or on the internal walls of oil-transporting pipelines.

Most Recent Project

Universal Janus Filters for the Separation of Oil from Emulsions Stabilized by Ionic or Nonionic Surfactants

Results from the project "Universal Janus Filters for the Rapid Separation of Oil from Emulsions Stabilized by Ionic or Nonionic Surfactants"Existing Janus filters cannot separate oil from emulsions stabilized by non-ionic surfactants. Reported in this paper are universal Janus filters that separate oil from emulsions stabilized by not only ionic but also non-ionic surfactants. To prepare such a filter, poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) is grafted onto one side of a fabric. The other side is then grafted with a copolymer polysoap bearing pendant oligo(ethylene glycol) monolaurate (EL) chains. Upon contact with an emulsion, the grafted polysoap competes with free surfactants, ionic or nonionic, for adsorption onto the emulsified droplets, drawing them to the surfaces of the fabric fibers, and causes them to coalesce locally. The coalesced oil then migrates to the PDMS-coated side of the fabric and selectively permeates it. These novel filters possess enhanced versatility and showcase a new application for polysoaps.

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Other Projects

  • UV-Curable Antismudge Coatings

    Current antismudge coatings that bear nano-pools of a grafted liquid ingredient for dewetting enablement (NP-GLIDE) are cured at high temperatures, which are undesirable for application on heat-sensitive substrates. Reported herein is the development of a NP-GLIDE coating that can be photocured at room temperature. Of the various formulations that have been tested, robust coatings were obtained from one recipe consisting of a photoinitiator, a trifunctional monomer that bears three double bonds, and a graft copolymer. The last bears pendent double bonds and a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) side chain as the antismudge agent. Coatings were prepared by casting films from a solution containing these three components and then photolyzing the resultant films.

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