Timothy M. Swager

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Timothy M. Swager
Timothy Manning Swager

(1961-07-01) July 1, 1961 (age 62)
EducationMontana State University (BS)
California Institute of Technology (PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsChemistry, Materials science, Polymer science
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ThesisPrecursor routes to conducting polymers from the ring-opening metathesis polymerization of cyclic olefins. (1988)
Doctoral advisorRobert H. Grubbs
Other academic advisorsMark S. Wrighton

Timothy M. Swager (born 1961) is an American Scientist and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is at the interface of chemistry and materials science, with specific interests in carbon nanomaterials, polymers, and liquid crystals. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Career and research[edit]

A native of Sheridan Montana, Swager earned his BS in Chemistry from Montana State University, received a PhD from the California Institute of Technology working with Robert H. Grubbs, and performed postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Mark S. Wrighton. He began as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and returned to MIT in 1996 as a Full Professor. Swager is best known for advancing new chemical sensing concepts based on molecular electronic principles. He introduced the concepts of charge and energy transport through molecular and nanowires as a method to create amplified signals to chemical events.[1][2] These methods gave rise to the sensitive explosive sensors that have been commercialized under the trade name Fido.[3] He demonstrated the integration of molecular recognition into chemiresistive sensors, first with conducting polymers[4] and later with carbon nanotubes,[5][6] and these methods were first commercialized by C2Sense.[7] He is also the cofounder of PolyJoule Inc.[8] that produces organic batteries for stationary energy storage, and founded Xibus Systems[9] that is developing improved methods for pathogenic bacteria detection in food production.

Swager also has pioneering contributions to the areas of liquid crystals demonstrating how novel molecular shapes can be used to introduce intermolecular correlations in structures and alignment.[10] In the area of high strength materials, by creating interlocking structures with enhanced ductility and strength.[11] In carbon nanomaterials he has developed methods for functionalizing and/or dispersing graphenes and carbon nanotubes.[12][13][14][15] Also he has designed novel radical materials in collaboration with Robert G. Griffin (MIT) for dynamic nuclear polarization to enhance the signal to noise ratio in NMR experiments.[16] A number of these enhancement agents are commercially available from DyNuPol Corp.[17] Swager has published more than 500 peer reviewed manuscripts and has more than 100 issued patents. As of January 2024, he has a Hirsch index of 120.

Notable awards[edit]


  • Swager, T. M.; Xu, B. "Liquid Crystalline Calixarenes" pages 389–398. in Calixarenes 50th Anniversary: Commemorative Issue Vicens, J.; Asfari, Z.; Harrowfeild, J. M. (Eds.) Kluwer Academic Publishers, Holland, 1994
  • Swager, T. M. "Polymer Electronics for Explosives Detection" pages 29–38 in Electronic Noses and Sensors for the Detection of Explosives, Gardner J.; Yinon, J., (Eds.) NATO Science Series II: Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, 2004
  • Tovar, J. D.; Swager, T. M. "Synthesis of Tunable Electrochromic and Fluorescent Polymers" Chapter 28, pp 368–376 in Chromogenic Phenomena in Polymers, Jenekhe, S. A.; Kiserow, D. J. (Eds.) ACS Symposium Series, Volume 888, 2004
  • Swager, T. M. "Semiconducting Poly(arylene ethylene)s" pages 233–258 in Acetylene Chemistry: Chemistry, Biology, and Materials Science, Diederich, F.; Stang, P. J.; Tykwinski, R. R. (Eds.) Wiley-VCH 2005
  • Swager, T. M. "Realizing the Ultimate Amplification in Conducting Polymer Sensors: Isolated Nanoscopic Pathways" pages 29–44 in Redox Systems Under Nano-Space Control, Hirao, T. (Ed.) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006
  • Thomas, S. W., III; Swager, T. M. "Detection of Explosives Using Amplified Fluorescent Polymers" pages 203–220 in Detection of Illicit Chemicals and Explosives; Oxley, J. C.; Marshall, M., (Eds.) Elsevier: New York, 2008.
  • B. VanVeller, T. M. Swager, "Poly(aryleneethynylene)s" pages 175–200 in Design and Synthesis of Conjugated Polymers, M. Leclerc, J. Morin (Eds.) Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, 2010.
  • Andrew, T. L.; Swager, T. M. "Exciton Transport through Conjugated Molecular Wires" in Charge and Exciton Transport through Molecular Wires Siebbeles, L. D. A.; Grozema, F. C. (Eds.) Wiley-VCH: Weinheim 2010
  • Levine, M.; Swager, T. M. "Conjugated Polymer Sensors: Design, Principles, and Biological Applications" Chapter 4, Pages 81–133, in Functional Supramolecular Architectures: for Organic Electronics and Nanotechnology Vol. 1 Samori, P.; Cacialli, F. (Eds.) Wiley-VCH: Weinheim 2010


  1. ^ Swager, Timothy M. (April 4, 1998). "The Molecular Wire Approach to Sensory Signal Amplification". Accounts of Chemical Research. American Chemical Society (ACS). 31 (5): 201–207. doi:10.1021/ar9600502. ISSN 0001-4842.
  2. ^ Fennell, John F.; Liu, Sophie F.; Azzarelli, Joseph M.; Weis, Jonathan G.; Rochat, Sébastien; Mirica, Katherine A.; Ravnsbæk, Jens B.; Swager, Timothy M. (December 11, 2015). "Nanowire Chemical/Biological Sensors: Status and a Roadmap for the Future". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Wiley. 55 (4): 1266–1281. doi:10.1002/anie.201505308. hdl:1721.1/115094. ISSN 1433-7851. PMID 26661299. S2CID 11028237.
  3. ^ "Threat Detection | Teledyne FLIR".
  4. ^ Thomas, Samuel W.; Joly, Guy D.; Swager, Timothy M. (April 1, 2007). "Chemical Sensors Based on Amplifying Fluorescent Conjugated Polymers". Chemical Reviews. 107 (4): 1339–1386. doi:10.1021/cr0501339. ISSN 0009-2665. PMID 17385926.
  5. ^ Schroeder, Vera; Savagatrup, Suchol; He, Maggie; Lin, Sibo; Swager, Timothy M. (January 9, 2019). "Carbon Nanotube Chemical Sensors". Chemical Reviews. 119 (1): 599–663. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00340. ISSN 0009-2665. PMC 6399066. PMID 30226055.
  6. ^ Luo, Shao-Xiong Lennon; Swager, Timothy M. (September 28, 2023). "Chemiresistive sensing with functionalized carbon nanotubes". Nature Reviews Methods Primers. 3 (1). doi:10.1038/s43586-023-00255-6. ISSN 2662-8449. S2CID 263158626.
  7. ^ "Sensing Solutions for a Healthier and Safer World". C2Sense. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  8. ^ "Ultra-safe Energy Storage". PolyJoule. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  9. ^ "Revolutionizing food and beverage safety". Xibus.Systems. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  10. ^ Serrette, Andre G.; Swager, Timothy M. (1993). "Controlling intermolecular associations with molecular superstructure: polar discotic linear chain phases". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society (ACS). 115 (19): 8879–8880. doi:10.1021/ja00072a067. ISSN 0002-7863.
  11. ^ Tsui, Nicholas T.; Paraskos, Alex J.; Torun, Lokman; Swager, Timothy M.; Thomas, Edwin L. (March 31, 2006). "Minimization of Internal Molecular Free Volume: A Mechanism for the Simultaneous Enhancement of Polymer Stiffness, Strength, and Ductility". Macromolecules. American Chemical Society (ACS). 39 (9): 3350–3358. Bibcode:2006MaMol..39.3350T. doi:10.1021/ma060047q. ISSN 0024-9297.
  12. ^ Zhang, Wei; Sprafke, Johannes K.; Ma, Minglin; Tsui, Emily Y.; Sydlik, Stefanie A.; Rutledge, Gregory C.; Swager, Timothy M. (June 24, 2009). "Modular functionalization of carbon nanotubes and fullerenes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 131 (24): 8446–8454. doi:10.1021/ja810049z. ISSN 1520-5126. PMID 19480427.
  13. ^ Collins, William R.; Lewandowski, Wiktor; Schmois, Ezequiel; Walish, Joseph; Swager, Timothy M. (August 8, 2011). "Claisen Rearrangement of Graphite Oxide: A Route to Covalently Functionalized Graphenes". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Wiley. 50 (38): 8848–8852. doi:10.1002/anie.201101371. hdl:1721.1/74222. ISSN 1433-7851. PMID 21826769. S2CID 481644.
  14. ^ Jeon, Intak; Peeks, Martin D.; Savagatrup, Suchol; Zeininger, Lukas; Chang, Sehoon; Thomas, Gawain; Wang, Wei; Swager, Timothy M. (May 2019). "Janus Graphene: Scalable Self-Assembly and Solution-Phase Orthogonal Functionalization". Advanced Materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.). 31 (21): e1900438. Bibcode:2019AdM....3100438J. doi:10.1002/adma.201900438. hdl:1721.1/128021. ISSN 1521-4095. PMID 30968473. S2CID 106408715.
  15. ^ Luo, Shao-Xiong Lennon; Liu, Richard Y.; Lee, Sungsik; Swager, Timothy M. (July 14, 2021). "Electrocatalytic Isoxazoline-Nanocarbon Metal Complexes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 143 (27): 10441–10453. doi:10.1021/jacs.1c05439. ISSN 1520-5126. OSTI 1864830. PMID 34213315. S2CID 235710476.
  16. ^ Song, Changsik; Hu, Kan-Nian; Joo, Chan-Gyu; Swager, Timothy M.; Griffin, Robert G. (August 16, 2006). "TOTAPOL: A Biradical Polarizing Agent for Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Experiments in Aqueous Media". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society (ACS). 128 (35): 11385–11390. doi:10.1021/ja061284b. ISSN 0002-7863. PMID 16939261. S2CID 20020837.
  17. ^ "dynupol.com - Registered at Namecheap.com". www.dynupol.com. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  18. ^ "Carl S. Marvel Award for Creative Polymer Chemistry – Division of Polymer Chemistry, Inc". Division of Polymer Chemistry, Inc. – We believe in the strength of diversity in all its forms, because inclusion of and respect for diverse people, experiences, and ideas lead to superior solutions to world challenges and advances polymer chemistry as a global, multidisciplinary science. June 7, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  19. ^ "Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D., 2005 Homeland Security Award". Columbus Fellowship Foundation. April 10, 2005. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  20. ^ "Timothy M. Swager". Lemelson. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  21. ^ "MSU sets commencement ceremonies May 10". Montana State University. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  22. ^ "ACS Award for Creative Invention".
  23. ^ "Welcome to NESACS – Awards | John Gustavus Esselen Award".
  24. ^ "ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry".