Tim White
Professor • Gallogly Professor • Graduate Associate Chair
Chemical and Biological Engineering • Materials Science and Engineering Program

Office: JSCBB, E1B38
Mailbox: 596 UCB


BA, Central College (2002)
MS, University of Iowa (2005)
PhD, University of Iowa (2006)


  • Senior Member, SPIE, 2023
  • Soft Matter Lectureship, 2019
  • Sigma-Millipore Lectureship, 2019
  • Outstanding Young Investigator, Materials Research Society, 2016
  • Early Career Award, SPIE, 2013
  • Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science and Engineering, American Chemical Society, Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Division (PMSE), 2013
  • 2012 Early Career Award, U.S. Air Force

Selected Publications


  • Herbert, K.M., Fowler, H.E., McCracken, J.M., Schlafmann, K.R., Koch, J.A., and White, T.J.,*, “Synthesis and alignment of liquid crystalline elastomers”, Nature Review Materials, 2022, 7, 23-38. (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-021-00359-z)
  • McCracken, J.M., Donovan, B.R., and White, T.J.*, “Materials as Machines”, Adv. Mater., 2020, 32 (20), 1906564. (https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201906564)
  • White, T.J.*, Broer, D.J.*, "Programmable and Adaptive Mechanics with Liquid Crystal Polymer Networks and Elastomers", Nature Materials, 2015, 14 (11), 1087-1098. (review) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4433)    
  • White, T.J.*, McConney, M.E., and Bunning, T.J.*, “Dynamic Color in Stimuli-Responsive Cholesteric Liquid Crystals”, Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2010, 9832.   (https://doi.org/10.1039/C0JM00843E)  


Molecular Engineering
  • Bauman, G. E., McCracken, J. M., & White, T. J., “Actuation of Liquid Crystalline Elastomers at or Below Ambient Temperature”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2022, 61(28), e202202577. (https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202202577
  • McCracken, J. M.,  Donovan, B. R.,  Lynch, K. M.,  and White, T. J.*,  “Molecular Engineering of Mesogenic Constituents Within Liquid Crystalline Elastomers to Sharpen Thermotropic Actuation”, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2021, 31, 2100564. (https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202100564)
Mechanics of Materials
  • Donovan, B., Fowler, H., Matavulj, V., and White, T.J., “Mechanotropic Elastomers”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 131, 13882.  (https://doi.org/10.1002/ange.201905176)
  • Auguste, A.D., Ward, J.W., Hardin, J.O., Kowalski, B.A., Guin, T.C., Berrigan, J.D., and White, T.J.*, “Enabling and Localizing Omni-directional Nonlinear Deformation in Liquid Crystalline Elastomers”, Advanced Materials, 2018, 30(35), 1802438. (https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201802438)
  • Ware, T.H., Biggins, J.S., Shick, A.F., Warner, M., and White, T.J.*, "Localized soft elasticity in liquid crystal elastomers", Nature Communications, 2016, 7.
Responsive Shape-Changing Materials
  • Fowler, H.E., Rothemond, P., Keplinger, C., and White, T.J., “Liquid Crystal Elastomers with Enhanced Directional Actuation to Electric Fields”, Advanced Materials, 2021, 33(43), 2103806. (https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202103806
  • Donovan, B.R., Matavulj, V.M., Ahn, S.-k., Guin, T., and White, T.J.*, “All-Optical Control of Shape”, Advanced Materials, 2019, Article 1805750. (https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201805750)
  • Guin, T., Settle, M.J., Kowalski, B.A., Auguste, A.D., Beblo, R.V., Reich, G.W., and White, T.J.*, “Layered Liquid Crystal Elastomer Actuators”, Nature Communications, 2018, 9, Article number: 2531. (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04911-4)
Responsive Optical Materials
  • Phillips, A.T., Schlafmann, K.R., Fowler, H.E., White, T.J., “Electrically tunable, fully solid reflective optical elements”, Adv. Optic. Mater., 2022, 10, 22, 2201457 (https://doi.org/10.1002/adom.202201457)
  • Schlafmann, K.R., and White, T.J.*, “Retention and deformation of the blue phases in liquid crystalline elastomers”, Nature Communications, 2021, 12, article 4916. 

Research Interests

The Responsive and Programmable (R+PM) Group is generally interested in realizing functional utility in soft materials. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, bridging chemical engineering, materials science, polymer science, mechanics, optics, and applied physics.  

Research Keywords:

polymers, liquid crystals, soft matter, actuation, robotics, optics

Brief Summary of Research Activities:

Current research activities in the R+PM Group are broadly focused on harnessing stimuli response in liquid crystalline materials to realize shape transformation or optical reconfiguration. Ongoing research is largely focused on exploiting the anisotropy of liquid crystalline materials to enable distinctive function as material actuators, reconfigurable optical elements, ruggedized substrates for flexible electronic devices, and as novel mechanobiological scaffolds. Exploiting techniques in directed self-assembly of liquid crystalline materials and enabled by our advancements in materials chemistry, we are undertaking foundational studies of material behavior and exploiting this new knowledge to further optimize and enhance response.

Other Program Associations

  • Materials Science and Engineering Program
  • Medical Scientist Training Program at CU Anschutz