Glenn Fredrickson’s computational field theory techniques have revolutionized the study of soft materials and complex fluids, most notably in self-assembling polymers and block copolymers. These techniques have become known as “field-theoretic simulations” (FTS) and are significant not only for their importance to molecular thermodynamics, but also for their engineering impact on directed self-assembly (DSA) — an emerging lithographic technology for semiconductor devices. Companies such as Intel and Samsung are developing their next-generation lithographic processes based on FTS software tools developed by Glenn’s group.
After writing an influential 2002 Macromolecules article that explained the full framework of FTS, Glenn, in 2006, published a book, The Equilibrium Theory of Inhomogeneous Polymers, which unified the field of non-homogeneous polymer theory and simulation, and has become the standard reference for both self-consistent field theory (SCFT) and Glenn’s field-theoretic simulations (FTS).
Glenn and his group have since developed SCFT and FTS into a mature simulation framework, introduced thermodynamic integration methods for free energy evaluation, alternative ensembles, and methods to automatically and adaptively relax stress within ordered phases of complex fluids and polymers.
He has also pioneered the computational exploration of the rich phase behavior of supramolecular polymer alloys, providing physical guidance to a field dominated largely by synthetic polymer chemists.
Most recently, Glenn has turned his attention to directed self-assembly, which refers to the use of topological or chemical pre-patterns created using 193 nm photolithography to “direct” the self-assembly of block copolymer thin films. Glenn’s suite of FTS/SCFT tools — called PolyFTS — for this application has been adopted by semiconductor manufacturers and specialty polymer suppliers.
Since 2014, he has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer, Managing Corporate Executive Officer, and Member of the Board of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.
Glenn is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of AIChE, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.