Chemical Sciences Division, ORNL
Dr. Tomonori Saito is a synthetic polymer chemist, who has extensive experience in the synthesis of well-defined polymers via living/controlled polymerization as well as post-modification of various polymers. His expertise has been applied to various projects at ORNL including CO2 separation membranes, flow battery, ion-conducting polymers for batteries and battery binders, ionic liquid polymers, polymer nanocomposites, additive manufacturing, polymer nanoparticles, elastomers, self-healing materials, thermal insulation materials, uranium extraction from seawater, polyolefin-based carbon fibers, lignin based-carbon fibers, and lignin-based renewable thermoplastics. He has published 72 peer-reviewed articles, 4 patents issued (one was licensed.), won R&D 100 in 2012 and 2016.
His strength in research relies on the use of his skills in synthetic polymer chemistry to impact material sciences, energy, and chemical & environmental engineering applications. His polymer synthesis experience includes synthesis of block, graft, random copolymers with functional groups using living anionic polymerization, ATRP, RAFT, ROMP, conventional free radical polymerization, step-growth polymerization, and post-functionalization chemistry. His engineering expertise includes design, process and characterization of polymeric materials using various techniques for applications such as CO2separation membranes, flow battery, self-healing materials, elastomers, carbon fibers, 3D printing, thermal insulation materials, renewable plastics, metal adsorbents, ion-conducting polymers for batteries and hydrogen, methanol & microbial fuel cells.
Current Research Focus
- Gas Separation Membrane
- Energy Storage (Polymer Binders, Flow Battery)
- Polymer Nanocomposites
- Block Copolymers and Soft Nanoparticles
- Thermoplastic Elastomers and Superelastomers
- Self-healing Polymers
- Additive Manufacturing (Binger Jet 3D Printing)
- Polymer Electrolytes
- Building Materials
Education and Training:
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan B.S. 2001 Applied Chemistry
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan M.S. 2003 Chemical Engineering
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA Ph.D. 2008 Chemistry (Organic Polymer)
Research and Professional Experience:
2012 – present R&D Staff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division
Lead PI on polymeric gas separation membrane. Technical lead for novel polymer synthesis for CO2separation membranes, uranium adsorbents, ion-conducting polymers for batteries, and ionic liquid polymers using living anionic polymerization, ATRP, RAFT, ROMP, conventional free radical polymerization, olefin polymerization, step-growth polymerization, and post-functionalization chemistry. Also technical lead on binder jet 3D printing as well as UV 3D printing.
2010 – 2012 Postdoctoral Associate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Division
Designed and developed polyolefin-based carbon fiber, lignin based-carbon fiber, and lignin-based novel thermoplastic
2008 – 2010 Postdoctoral Associate, The Pennsylvania State University, Materials Science and Engineering, Environmental Engineering
Synthesis of novel proton and anion exchange membranes for hydrogen and methanol fuel cells. Served as a material expert in microbial fuel cells in all the components including polymer binder, polymer coating, and membranes.