University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Dr. Forrest's research is focused on the behaviour of soft materials at the nanoscale. This includes self assembly of polymers, dynamics in thin films and near surface and interfaces. He has a long standing interest on the dynamics of glassy materials.
The Waterloo Polymer Physics group has made many important contributions to the study of the glass transition in thin polymer films. The general premise of such studies is that the dynamics in thin films can be significantly different from that of the bulk polymer. From an applied point of view the glass transition is an important parameter describing the temperature dependent dynamics of the system. These properties in turn largely determine which application a particular material is suited for. From a more fundamental viewpoint, thin polymer films provide excellent sample geometry for studying what are termed finite size effects in model glass forming materials. This may lead to significant advances in our understanding of this outstanding unsolved problem in condensed matter physics. Our studies here have focused on measurements of the glass transition temperature, as well as more direct studies of the dynamics. We have used ellipsometry, photon correlation spectroscopy, dielectric relaxation, quartz crystal microbalance, and inelastic neutron scattering in these studies.
There are a number of reasons to think that the properties of polymers may be different at interfaces and surfaces than in the bulk of a material. We have been actively involved in this area from looking at the adhesion of micron sized particles to Porous Silicon (PS) surfaces, embedding of nm sized particle to PS surfaces and looking at interface formation between miscible and immiscible blends when one of the constituents is still in a glassy state.
Structural as well dynamical properties can be different in a thin film geometry. We are interested in fundamental questions such as, "What is the density in a thin film?" as well as more applied questions like, "What is the composition in blended systems, or those with impurities?". Our studies in this are span a very wide range. We have used optical scattering techniques, microscopy, dynamics secondary ion mass spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to study these sample.
Proteins have specific conformations which define their biologically active state. These configurations are typically determined by the details of interactions between the different constituent monomers as well as interactions with the aqueous solution. This delicate balance of interactions which is required to have a protein remain in a biologically active state can be significantly perturbed by the presence of interfaces. The monomer-surface interaction can potentially be much stronger than hydropobic interactions which cause the molecule to campactify and leave open the possibility not only for the protein to adsorb onto the surface but also to denature onto it. We are beginning to investigate proteins at interfaces.
Mohit S Verma, Jackson M Tsuji, Brad Hall, Paul Z Chen, James Forrest, Lyndon Jones, Frank X Gu. "Towards point-of-care detection of polymicrobial infections: rapid colorimetric response using a portable spectrophotometer". Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research, 2016
Maxence Arutkin, Elie Raphaël, James A Forrest, Thomas Salez. "Cooperative strings in glassy nanoparticles". arXiv:1603.07539, 2016
Yu Chai, James Forrest. "Crystallization of atactic polystyrene". APS Meeting Abstracts, 2016
Kari Dalnoki-Veress, James A Forrest. "New section for The European Physical Journal E:“Tips and Tricks in Soft Matter and Biological Physics”. The European Physical Journal E, 38, 12 
Thomas Salez, Justin Salez, Kari Dalnoki-Veress, Elie Raphaël, James A Forrest. "Cooperative strings and glassy interfaces". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 27 [8227-8231]
Please see Google Scholar for a complete list of Dr. Forrest's publications.
The following news stories have featured Dr. Forrest's research:
1994 PhD Physics/Atomic & Molecular Physics, University of Guelph
1990 MSc Physics/Atomic & Molecular Physics, University of Guelph
1987 BSc Physics, University of British Columbia
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.