Samuel W. Thomas

Department of Chemistry
Pearson Chemistry Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University 
Medford, MA 02155 

Office: P-305C

Tel: 617-627-3771   Fax: 617-627-3443

E-mail: sam.thomas@tufts.edu

Research Homepage

Current Appointment


Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry

Graduate Program Director




B.S., 2000, University of Rochester, NY
Ph.D., 2006, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2006-2009


Research Interests

Organic Chemistry, Surface Chemistry, Materials Science.  The Thomas lab takes an interdisciplinary approach to design and synthesis of organic materials. They combine synthesis, physical organic chemistry, photophysics, and electrostatics. Research includes: (1) Electro-statically responsive materials that undergo a change in properties upon exposure to a stimulus such as changing the sign of charge upon contact electrification. Since a consistent theory that predicts how a material will charge upon contact with another material does not exist, they are developing rules to guide the design of materials for next-generation anti-static materials, label-free chemical detection, and chemically- or photochemically-triggered electrostatic actuators. (2) Development of conjugated materials that are highly amplifying optical sensing materials where mobile excited states can transfer their energy (or be quenched) by electron, hole, or energy acceptors throughout the polymer backbone. The output for sensing applications of these materials is either fluorescence quenching or energy transfer, both of which have large background signal. The Thomas group is designing "materials amplification" from mobile excitons with dark-field sensing by using small amounts of reactive quenching traps and prequenched materials that radiate by coupling to plasmons upon binding. (3) Development of multifunctional polymers that bear ligands that bind specifically to targeted surfaces and thus serve as inhibitors with larger binding constants than their monomeric counterparts. Their research focuses on polymers that combine ligands for binding selectively to a surface with other useful functions and also take advantage of recent developments in controlled polymerization techniques to exert greater control over the distribution of functional moieties. Applications of such materials includes singlet oxygen photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy and thermally responsive materials for selective precipitation.


Selected Recent Publications


“Stimuli-Responsive Free-Standing Layer-by-Layer Films” Hu, Xiaoran; McIntosh, Ethan; Simon, Marc G.; Staii, Cristian; Thomas, Samuel W. Advanced Materials 2016, 28, 715–721. 


“Two-Dimensional Bricklayer Arrangements of Tolans Using Halogen Bonding Interactions” Frausto, Fanny; Thomas, Samuel W. Chemical Communications 2015, 8825–8828. 


“Thiophene-Based Conjugated Polymers with Photolabile Solubilizing Side Chains” Smith, Zachary C.; Meyer, Dianne M.; Simon, Mark G.; Staii, Cristian; Shukla, Deepak; Thomas, Samuel W. Macromolecules 2015, 48, 959–966. 


"Electronic Effects of Ring Fusion and Alkyne Substitution on Acene Properties and Reactivity” Zhang, Jinging; Smith, Zachary C.; Thomas, Samuel W. III J. Org. Chem. 201479, 10081–10093.


“Twisting and Piezochromism of Phenylene-Ethynylenes  With Aromatic Interactions Between Side Chains and Main Chains” Pawle, Robert H.; Haas, Terry E.; Müller, Peter; Thomas, Samuel W. Chemical Science 2014, 5, 4184–4188.


“Wavelength-Selective Disruption and Triggered Release with Polyelectrolyte Multilayers” Gumbley, Patricia; Koylu, Damla; Pawle, Robert H.; Umezuruike, Bond; Spedden, Elise; Staii, Cristian; Thomas, Samuel. W. III Chemistry of Materials 2014, 26, 1450–1456.   

"Structure, Photophysics, and Photooxidation of Crowded Diethynyltetracenes", J. Zhang, S. Sarrafpour, T. E. Haas, P. Müller, S. W. Thomas III, J. Mater. Chem. 2012, 22, 6182–6189.


"Photochemical Disruption of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers", D. Koylu, M. Thapa, P. Gumbley, S. W. Thomas III, Adv. Mater. 2012, 24, 1451-1454.


"Acene-Linked Conjugated Polymers with Ratiometric Flourescent Response to 1O2", J. Zhang, S. Saraffpour, R. P. Pawle, S. W. Thomas III,  Chem Commun., 2011, 47, 3445-3447.


"Controlling Contact Electrification with Photochromic Polymers", S. Friedle, S. W. Thomas III,  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, 49, 7968-7971.

Complete listing of publications can be found HERE.