Stephen A. Morin, Associate Professor

Stephen Morin

Stephen A. Morin
Assistant Professor

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
409C Hamilton Hall
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0304
Office: 402-472-4608

Research Interests

Emerging technologies (e.g., soft electronics) demand innovative techniques for the synthesis of crystalline materials and the integration of hard and soft materials into functional structures. The group is developing dynamic solution and surface chemical processes that address these demands by carefully controlling key factors, such as mass transport, critical to crystal synthesis and the fabrication of hybrid structures. We emphasize methods that alleviate the limitations, such as high cost of production and limited materials compatibility, associated with the conventional processing of crystalline materials.

Our strategies develop aspects of solution and surface chemistry that have been neglected or not considered. Current research projects (Figure 1) include: (i) the investigation of crystal growth on deformable or elastic substrates, (ii) the growth of crystals in fluid flow fields, and (iii) the use of acoustics to control the location of crystal nucleation. We focus on solution-phase synthesis because it simplifies experimental design, lowers cost, and offers advantages in processing. Our work will provide new methodologies for the synthesis of crystalline materials with useful morphologies and hybrid assemblies with desired structure-property relationships.

We utilize an array of techniques to characterize the materials that we produce, including: various scanning probe microscopies, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, optical microscopy, X-ray and electron diffraction, UV/VIS/IR spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. We also utilize nanofacrication, soft lithography, and additive manufaturing techniques to create devices for the synthesis of materials and for the characterization of the electrical and mechanical properties of materials. Students and postdocs in the group can expect to become proficient in all of these techniques.

Dynamic Processes for Controlling Crystal Growth


  • Mosadegh, B.; Mazzeo, A. D.; Shepherd, R. F.; Morin, S. A.; Gupta, U.; Sany, I.; Lai, D; Takayama, S.; Whitesides, G.M. “Control of Soft Machines using Actuators Operated by a Braille Display” accepted to Lab on a Chip 2013.
  • Stokes, A.A.; Shepherd, R.F.; Morin, S.A.; Ilievski, F.; Whitesides, G.M. “A Multi-directional Soft Robotic Quadruped” Soft Robotics 2013, 1, 70-74.
  • Shepherd, R.F.; Stokes, A.A.; Freake, J.; Barber, J.; Snyder, P.W.; Mazzeo, A.D.; Cademartiri, L.; Morin, S.A.; Whitesides, G.M. “Using Explosions to Power a Soft Robot” Angew. Chem.-Int. Ed 2013, 52, 2892-2896.
  • Meng, F.; Morin, S.A.; Forticaux, A.; Jin, S. “Screw Dislocation Driven Growth of Nanomaterials” Acc. Chem. Res. 2013, 46, 1616-1626.
  • Morin, S.A.; Shepherd, R.F.; Kwok, S.W.; Stokes, A.A.; Nemiroski, A.; Whitesides, G.M. “Camouflage and Display for Soft Machines” Science 2012, 337, 828-832.
  • Musah, S.; Morin, S.A.; Wrighton, P.J.; Zwick, D.B.; Jin, S.; Kiessling, L.L. “Glycosaminoglycan-binding Hydrogels Enable Mechanical Control of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Self-Renewal” ACS Nano 2012, 6, 10168-10177.
  • Dong, Z; Zhuravlev, K.K; Morin, S.A.; Li, L.; Jin, S.; Song, Y. “Pressure-Induced Structural Transformations of ZnO Nanowires Probed by X-ray Diffraction” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2012, 116, 2102-2107.
  • Shepherd, R.F.; Ilievski, F.; Choi, W.; Morin, S.A.; Stokes, A.A.; Mazzeo, A.D.; Chen, X.; Wang, M.; Whitesides, G.M. “A Multi-Gait Soft Robot” P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2011, 108, 20400-20403.
  • Morin, S.A.; Forticaux, A.; Bierman, M.J.; Jin, S. “Screw Dislocation-Driven Growth of Two Dimensional Nanoplates” Nano Lett. 2011, 11, 4449-4455.
  • Meng, F.; Morin, S.A.; Jin, S. “Rational Solution Growth of a-FeOOH Nanowires Driven By Screw Dislocations and Their Conversion to a-Fe2O3 Nanowires” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 8408-8411.