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Jeff Alston

Jeffrey R. Alston, Ph.D.

About Professor Alston

Curriculum Vitae

PDF Version, March 2018


Dr. Alston’s work explores the fundamental aspects nanotextured surfaces and interfaces, and the engineering applications of those concepts in aerospace/propulsion systems. Current projects include the design and engineering of nanotextured surfaces infused with liquids and the formation of nanoparticles in emulsion systems, along with their interaction with flowing fluids.

Additionally, he is studying low density, high temperature stable nanomaterials like boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). This work involves the purification and manipulation of the surface of BNNTs to enable their integration with engineering polymer matrices and extreme environment, environments (high temperature and high pressure) relevant in aerospace and propulsion, composites.

His work with surfaces and nanostructures ranges from designing hierarchical (combined micro- and nano- scales) structures on metal substrates such as aluminum and stainless steel, to forming polymer nanoparticles through the manipulation of interfacial tension, to engineering the wettability engineering of surfaces directly exposed to rocket nozzle exhaust.


  • AFOSR Basic Research Grant FY17 – High Temperature Multi-functional Boron-Nitride-Nanotube-Based Light-Weight Fibers (~$150K/yr, 3 years)
  • AFOSR Basic Research Grant FY16 – High-Temperature Liquid-Infused Surfaces for Enhanced Transport at Boundary Layers (~$110K/yr, 3 years)
  • North Carolina NASA Space Grant 2010 – Project: Hybrid Nanocomposite Thin Film Photocatalysis for Air Scrubbing and Fuel Production


  • Alston, J.R., Lamb, J.T., Ghiassi, K.B., Nowlin, K.S., Kelkar, A.D. Purification and Enrichment of Commercially Produced BNNTs. Nat. Nanotechnol. In Submission
  • Alston, J.R., Banks DJ, McNeill CX, Mitchell JB, Popov LD, Shcherbakov IN, Poler JC., Adsorption studies of divalent, dinuclear coordination complexes as molecular spacers on SWCNTs. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2015 Nov 28;17(44):29566-73
  • Ameen, A. A.; Giordano, A. N.; Alston, J. R.; Forney, M. W.; Herring, N. P.; Kobayashi, S.; Ridlen, S. G.; Subaran, S. S.; Younts, T. J.; Poler, J. C., Aggregation Kinetics of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Investigated Using Mechanically Wrapped Multinuclear Complexes: Probing the Tube-Tube Repulsive Barrier. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 5855-5865.
  • Alston, J. R.; Brokaw, D.; Overson, C.; Schmedake, T. A.; Poler, J. C., Hybrid SWCNT – NiO Composites for Supercapacitor Applications. MRS Online Proceedings Library 2013, 1552
  • Alston, J. R., Overson, D., and Poler, J. C. “Direct Measurement of the Interactions of Amide Solvents with Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Using Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.” Langmuir, 2012, 28 (1), pp 264–271
  • Alston, J. R., Kobayashi, S., Younts, T. J. and Poler, J. C. “Synthesis and characterization of rigid +2 and +3 heteroleptic dinuclear ruthenium(II) complexes.” Polyhedron.
  • Jeffrey R. Alston, Harsh Chaturvedi, Michael W. Forney, Natalie Herring, and Jordan C. Poler; Dispersions and Aggregation of Carbon Nanotubes, Handbook of Nanophysics: Nanotubes and Nanowires, CRC Press, September 24, 2010.
  • Alston, J. R. and Poler, J. C. “Binding of Dinuclear Ruthenium Complexes, SWNTs and Nanoparticles for Hybrid Nanocomposite Materials.” Proceedings, 2010 MRS Fall Meeting


  • Surface coatings, treatments, and methods for removal of mineral scale by self-release, U.S. Application No. 14/732,652, June 2015
  • Natural polymer nanoparticles from ionic liquid emulsions, Provisional Application Ser. No. 62/377,108, Aug. 2016