Faculty & Research

René Overney

Rene Overney


René Overney

Professor of Chemical Engineering 

Office: 245 Benson and MolES 222
Phone: 206-543-4353
Fax: 206-543-3778


  • Ph.D. University of Basel (Switzerland), 1992.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Exxon (CR), 1994.

Research Interests 

Basic Research
Material research of nano-constrained systems with focus on transport properties (mass, momentum, and electronic) in organic and organic/inorganic hybrid materials.
  • Pioneering scanning probe tools.
  • Tribology (lubrication, adhesion)
  • Interfacial compatibilization
  • Electronics
  • Ultrahigh density mass storage
  • Fuel cell.

Nanoscale Surface Science and Polymer Rheology

Developments of technology are becoming more and more challenging because we are approaching the inherent limitations in materials. Within the scientific community, there is considerable effort being directed towards understanding the physical and chemical properties of interfaces and surfaces of thin films. In particular, on the submicrometer scale within the field of polymers and tribology (friction, wear, and adhesion), it has been recognized that surface mechanical and rheological properties, surface structures, and interfacial interactions are of great importance to improve reaction rates, energy efficiencies (e.g., fuel efficiency), etc. 
One of today's most promising techniques in studying surfaces on the submicrometer scale is the scanning probe microscope (SPM). The SPM derives from the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), the first real-space imaging tool with the capability of atomic-scale resolution. From the STM, a huge variety of other SPMs originated-such as the scanning force microscope (SFM) and the scanning near field optical microscope (SNOM). 


Recent Publications

  • Kocherlakota, L.S., Knorr, D.B., Foster, L., Overney, R.M. Enhanced gas transport properties and molecular mobilities in nano-constrained poly[1-(trimethylsily1)-1-propyne] membranes. Polymer 2012, 53(12): pp. 2394-2401.
  • Gu, X.K., Knorr, D.B., Wang, G.J., Overney, R.M. Layered and interfacially blended polyelectrolyte multi-walled carbon nanotube composites for enhanced ionic conductivity. Thin Solid Films 2012, 520(6): pp. 1872-1879.
  • Gu, X.K., Knorr, D.B., Wang, G.J., Overney, R.M. Local thermal-mechanical analysis of ultrathin interfacially mixed poly(ethylene oxide)/poly(acrylic acid) layer-by-layer electrolyte assemblies. Thin Solid Films 2011, 519(18): pp. 5955-5961.
  • Knorr, D.B., Widjaja, P., Acton, O., Overney, R.M. Molecular friction dissipation and mode coupling in organic monolayers and polymer films. Journal of Chemical Physics 2011, 134(10).
  • Killgore, J. P., Kocherlakota, L. S., Overney, R. M. Enhanced Mobility and Increased Gas Sorption Capacity in Thin Film and Nanoconduit Confined Polymers. Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics 2010, 48(4): pp. 434-441.
  • Knorr, D.B., Kocherlakota, L.S., Overney, R.M. Insight into reverse selectivity and relaxation behavior of poly[1-(trimethylsilyl)-1-propyne] by flux-lateral force and intrinsic friction microscopy. Journal of Membrane Science 2010, 346(2): pp. 302-309.
  • Sills, S.E., Overney, R.M. Molecular Mobility and Interfacial Dynamics in Organic Nano-electromechanical Systems (NEMS). Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology 2010, 24(15-16): pp. 2461-2667.
  • Knorr, D.B., Zhou, X.H., Shi, Z.W., Luo, J.D., Jang, S.H., Jen, AKY, Overney, R.M. Molecular Mobility in Self-Assembled Dendritic Chromophore Glasses. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2009, 113(43): pp. 14180-14188.
  • Knorr, D.B., Gray, T.O., Overney, R.M. Intrinsic friction anaylsis-Novel nanoscopic access to molecular mobility in constrained organic systems. Ultramicroscopy 2009, 109(8): pp. 991-1000.
  • Knorr, D.B., Gray, T.O., Overney, R.M. Cooperative and submolecular dissipation mechanisms of sliding friction in complex organic systems. Journal of Chemical Physics 2008, 129(7).