Mason, Thomas G.
Joint Appointment in UCLA Physics Department. California NanoSystems Institute
Young Hall 3040
Young Hall 2107
Prof. Mason received B.S. dual degrees in physics with high honors and electrical engineering summa cum laude from the University of Maryland- College Park in 1989. Supported by an NSF graduate fellowship, he studied soft condensed matter physics at Princeton University and earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1995. His dissertation work explained the onset of elasticity as dispersions of solid spheres and liquid droplets are concentrated to form colloidal glasses, and he also created a technique, thermal "passive" microrheology, that is now widely used.
His first postdoctoral position was at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (CNRS) in Bordeaux, France, where he explored the complex structure-flow-composition interplay in emulsification, and he spent an additional postdoctoral year doing research in chemical and bio-engineering on biopolymer microrheology, including on DNA and F-actin, at Johns Hopkins University. As a staff scientist and PI at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, starting in 1997, he led research in light and small angle neutron scattering from asphaltenes in hydrocarbon systems involving heavy oils, resulting in two US patents and an internal commercialization that improved refinery productivity.
Joining UCLA in 2003 as an assistant professor of chemistry and of physics, he advanced to full professor in both departments in 2009. Prof. Mason's interdisciplinary research group of chemists and physicists is now working on directing assembly of custom-shaped lithographic particles as molecular mimics, fabricating complex nanoemulsions via non-equilibrium routes, modeling microrheology and aggregation, and exploring biopolymer-colloid interactions in electrophoresis. Prof. Mason has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, PNAS, PRL, and JACS, and 10 issued US patents, 8 of which are based on research at UCLA. He is a fellow and life member of the American Physical Society, and he is a recipient of an NSF Career Award.
Microrheology is the study of the deformation and flow of complex fluids at the microscale. As a graduate student, T.G. Mason invented an approach in 1993 for deducing local and macroscopic viscoelastic shear moduli of complex fluids by measuring the thermal fluctuations of colloidal particles introduced as probes. This approach, later published in Physical Review Letters in 1995 with his advisor D.A. Weitz (PRL 74 1250), sparked the modern field of microrheology. We continue research on glasses using thermal microrheology; our group also uses laser tweezers to manipulate dielectric probe microparticles such as polystyrene spheres and wax disks in order to investigate non-linear rheological properties.
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- Microrheology: measuring the dynamic mechanical shear properties of viscoelastic soft materials over an extraordinarily large range of time scales by optically observing the diffusive motion of micron-sized probe particles embedded in these materials
- Shear-induced structures in complex fluids: emulsification, shear-banding, shear-ordering
- Neutron and light scattering from nanomaterials: asphaltenes, clays, droplets, polymers
- Directed assembly of nanoparticles in solution using shape-dependent attractive interactions
- Free boundary flows in microfluidic devices
- Structure and dynamics of soft colloidal glasses
Honors & Awards
- Fellow of the American Physical Society
- NSF CAREER Award
- Herbert Newby McCoy Award for Research Excellence
- American Physical Society DFD Gallery of Fluid Motion Award
- Princeton Joseph Henry Prize in Physics
- Glenn T. Seaborg Award
- Intel New Faculty Award
- Exxon Graduate Research Fellow
- NSF Graduate Research Fellow
[ Recent Publications ]
- Nanoparticle size distributions measured by optical adaptive-deconvolution passivated-gel electrophoresis. Zhu X, Mason TG. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2014 Aug 22;435C:67-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2014.08.016. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25218049
- Crossover between entropic and interfacial elasticity and osmotic pressure in uniform disordered emulsions. Mason TG, Scheffold F. Soft Matter. 2014 Aug 20;10(36):7109-16. doi: 10.1039/c4sm01125b. PMID: 25111129
- The jamming elasticity of emulsions stabilized by ionic surfactants. Scheffold F, Wilking JN, Haberko J, Cardinaux F, Mason TG. Soft Matter. 2014 Jul 28;10(28):5040-4. doi: 10.1039/c4sm00389f. PMID: 24913542
- Passivated gel electrophoresis of charged nanospheres by light-scattering video tracking. Zhu X, Mason TG. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2014 Aug 15;428:199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2014.04.024. Epub 2014 Apr 26. PMID: 24910054
- Self-limiting droplet fusion in ionic emulsions. Fryd MM, Mason TG. Soft Matter. 2014 Jul 14;10(26):4662-73. doi: 10.1039/c4sm00453a. PMID: 24839170
- Random walks of colloidal probes in viscoelastic materials. Khan M, Mason TG. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2014 Apr;89(4):042309. Epub 2014 Apr 29. PMID: 24827253
- Entropic chiral symmetry breaking in self-organized two-dimensional colloidal crystals. Mayoral K, Mason TG. Soft Matter. 2014 Jul 7;10(25):4471-8. doi: 10.1039/c4sm00261j. PMID: 24825352
- Self-organized chiral colloidal crystals of Brownian square crosses. Zhao K, Mason TG. J Phys Condens Matter. 2014 Apr 16;26(15):152101. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/26/15/152101. Epub 2014 Mar 27. PMID: 24675056
- Cerberus nanoemulsions produced by multidroplet flow-induced fusion. Fryd MM, Mason TG. Langmuir. 2013 Dec 23;29(51):15787-93. doi: 10.1021/la403817a. Epub 2013 Dec 11. PMID: 24328235
- Self-assembling semiconducting polymers--rods and gels from electronic materials. Clark AP, Shi C, Ng BC, Wilking JN, Ayzner AL, Stieg AZ, Schwartz BJ, Mason TG, Rubin Y, Tolbert SH. ACS Nano. 2013 Feb 26;7(2):962-77. doi: 10.1021/nn304437k. Epub 2013 Feb 6. PMID: 23346927
- Twinning of rhombic colloidal crystals. Zhao K, Mason TG. J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Oct 31;134(43):18125-31. doi: 10.1021/ja308214m. Epub 2012 Oct 18. PMID: 23075224
- Nanoinclusions in cryogenically quenched nanoemulsions. Fryd MM, Mason TG. Langmuir. 2012 Aug 21;28(33):12015-21. doi: 10.1021/la301834x. Epub 2012 Aug 10. PMID: 22881456
- Local chiral symmetry breaking in triatic liquid crystals. Zhao K, Bruinsma R, Mason TG. Nat Commun. 2012 May 1;3:801. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1803. PMID: 22549830
- Advanced nanoemulsions. Fryd MM, Mason TG. Annu Rev Phys Chem. 2012;63:493-518. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physchem-032210-103436. PMID: 22475339
- Optically probing nanoemulsion compositions. Zhu X, Fryd MM, Huang JR, Mason TG. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2012 Feb 21;14(7):2455-61. doi: 10.1039/c2cp23007k. Epub 2012 Jan 16. PMID: 22249645
- Rotational Fourier tracking of diffusing polygons. Mayoral K, Kennair TP, Zhu X, Milazzo J, Ngo K, Fryd MM, Mason TG. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2011 Nov;84(5 Pt 1):051405. Epub 2011 Nov 16. PMID: 22181415
- Rheology of attractive emulsions. Datta SS, Gerrard DD, Rhodes TS, Mason TG, Weitz DA. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2011 Oct;84(4 Pt 1):041404. Epub 2011 Oct 25. PMID: 22181143
- Towards total photonic control of complex-shaped colloids by vortex beams. Lapointe CP, Mason TG, Smalyukh II. Opt Express. 2011 Sep 12;19(19):18182-9. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.018182. PMID: 21935184
- Shear-induced disruption of dense nanoemulsion gels. Wilking JN, Chang CB, Fryd MM, Porcar L, Mason TG. Langmuir. 2011 May 3;27(9):5204-10. doi: 10.1021/la200021r. Epub 2011 Apr 6. PMID: 21469673
[ More Publications ]
- Entropic Crystal-Crystal Transitions of Brownian Squares K. Zhao, R. Bruinsma, and T.G. Mason, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Vol. 108 no. 7 2684–2687, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1014942108
- Time-Dependent Nanoemulsion Droplet Size Reduction by Evaporative Ripening M.M. Fryd and T.G. Mason, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 1 3349-3353 (2010).
- Electrically Driven Multiaxis Rotational Dynamics of Colloidal Platelets in Nematic Liquid Crystals C.P. Lapointe, S. Hopkins, T.G. Mason, and I.I. Smalyukh Phys. Rev. Lett. 105 178301/1-4 (2010).
- Tensorial Generalized Stokes-Einstein Relation for Anisotropic Probe Microrheology T.M. Squires and T.G. Mason, Rheol. Acta 49 1165-1177 (2010).
- Fluid Mechanics of Microrheology T.M. Squires and T.G. Mason, Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech. 42 413-438 (2010).
- Shape-Controlled Colloidal Interactions in Nematic Liquid Crystals C.P. Lapointe, T.G. Mason, and I.I. Smalyukh Science 326 1083-1086 (2009).
- Frustrated Rotator Crystals and Glasses of Brownian Pentagons K. Zhao and T.G. Mason, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103 208302/1-4 (2009).
- Mesoscale Structure of Diffusion Limited Aggregates of Colloidal Rods and Disks J.R. Rothenbuhler, J.-R. Huang, B.D. DiDonna, A.J. Levine, and T.G. Mason, Soft Matter 5 3639-3645 (2009).
- Scattering from Highly Packed Disordered Colloids F. Scheffold and T.G. Mason J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 21 332102/1-4 (2009).
- Suppressing and Enhancing Depletion Attractions Between Surfaces Roughened by Asperities K. Zhao and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. Lett. 101 148301/1-4 (2008).
- Nanoscale Double Emulsions Stabilized by Single-Component Block Copolypeptides J. Hanson, C.B. Chang, S.M. Graves, Z. Li, T.G. Mason, and T.J. Deming Nature 455 85-88 (2008).
- Shear Oscillation Light Scattering of Droplet Deformation and Restructuring in Concentrated Emulsions J.-R. Huang and T.G. Mason Europhys. Lett. 83 28004/1-5 (2008).
- Curvature Dependence of Viral Protein Structures on Encapsidated Nanoemulsion Droplets C.B. Chang, C.M. Knobler, W.M. Gelbart, and T.G. Mason ACS Nano 2 281-286 (2008).
- Roughness-Controlled Depletion Attractions for Directing Colloidal Self-Assembly K. Zhao and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. Lett. 99 268301/1-4 (2007).
- Irreversible Shear-Induced Elastic Vitrification of Nanoemulsions by Extreme Droplet Rupturing J.N. Wilking and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. E 75 041407/1-5 (2007).
- Slippery Diffusion-Limited Aggregation C.R. Seager and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. E 75 011406/1-4 (2007).
- Colloidal Alphabet Soup: Monodisperse Dispersions of Shape-Designed Particles C.J. Hernandez and T.G. Mason, J. Phys. Chem. C 111 4477-4480 (2007).
- Featured on the cover of the March 29, 2007 JPC C issue
- Featured in Nature's Research Highlights [see Nature 446 586 (2007)].
- Highlighted in Nature's Technology Features [H.M. Birch, Cell Biology: Down to the Letter
- Nature 446 940 (2007)
- Featured in over 30 web journals and tech blogs
- Swirling of Viscous Fluid Threads in Microchannels. T. Cubaud and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. Lett. 98 264501/1-4 (2007) AIP Gallery of Fluid Motion 2006 Award _ Invited Paper
- Nanoemulsions: Formation, Structure, and Physical Properties. T.G. Mason, J.N. Wilking, K. Meleson, C.B. Chang, and S.M. Graves, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 18 R635-R666 (2006). (invited topical review article) Featured in the "Top Papers of 2006" highlights by IoP
- Folding of Viscous Threads in Diverging Microchannels. T. Cubaud and T.G. Mason, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 114501/1-4 (2006). (published online - Nov., 2006).Featured as "Viscous threads investigated in diverging microchannels" by P.R. Dittrich in Lab-on-a-Chip 6 707-709 (2006)
- Dense Cluster Formation During Aggregation and Gelation of Attractive Slippery Nanoemulsion Droplets. J.N. Wilking, S.M. Graves, C.B. Chang, K. Meleson, M.Y. Lin, and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 015501/1-4 (2006).
- Shear-Induced Configurations of Confined Spherical Suspensions. I. Cohen, T.G. Mason, and D.A. Weitz Phys. Rev. Lett. 93 046001/1-4 (2004).
Other Selected Publications
- Optical Measurements of the Linear Viscoelastic Moduli of Complex Fluids T.G. Mason and D.A. Weitz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 1250-1253 (1995).
- Elasticity of Compressed Emulsions T.G. Mason, J. Bibette, and D.A. Weitz Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2051-2054 (1995).
- Linear Viscoelasticity of Hard Sphere Suspensions Near the Glass Transition T.G. Mason and D.A. Weitz Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2770-2773 (1995).
- Emulsification in Viscoelastic Media T.G. Mason and J. Bibette Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 3481-3481 (1996).
- Particle Tracking Microrheology of Complex Fluids T.G. Mason, K. Ganesan, D. Wirtz, J. H. van Zanten, and S.C. Kuo Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 3282-3285 (1997). Featured as "Particle Tracking and Liquid Flow" in Science News, 151 (1997)).
- Concentrated DNA Rheology and Microrheology T.G. Mason, A. Dhople, and D. Wirtz MRS Proceedings on Statistical Mechanics in Physics and Biology 463, 153-158 (1997).
- Estimating the Viscoelastic Moduli of Complex Fluids Using the Generalized Stokes-Einstein Equation T.G. Mason Rheol. Acta. 39, 371-378 (2000).
- Light Streak Tracking of Optically Trapped Thin Microdisks Z. Cheng, P.M. Chaikin, and T.G. Mason, Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 108303/1-4 (2002). (Featured as "Bitty Beacon" by P. Weiss in Science News 162, 149 (2002) and Featured in Nature Physics Portal and Nature Materials Website, 9/5 - 9/11/2002).
- Osmotically Driven Shape Dependent Separations T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. E Rapid Comm. 66, 060402/1-4 (2002).
- Rotational Diffusion Microrheology Z. Cheng and T.G. Mason Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 018304/1-4 (2003).