Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics (iCOUP)

Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics (iCOUP)


Aaron Sadow

Lead Institution

Ames Laboratory




To uncover macromolecular and catalytic phenomena at the interface of molecular-scale chemistry and mesoscale materials science to enable upcycling of energy-rich plastics.

Research Topics

catalysis (homogeneous), catalysis (heterogeneous), polymer upcycling, bio-inspired, mesoscale science, materials and chemistry by design, Interface (solid/solid), mesostructured materials, synthesis (novel systems)

Systems Studied

Systems: oxide, polymer, molecules, porous

Interfaces: organic/inorganic, inorganic/inorganic, liquid/solid

Nanostructured: 2D, 3D

Experimental and Theoretical Methods

X-ray diffraction and scattering, X-ray spectroscopy, neutron diffraction and scattering, electron microscopy, high-throughput screening methods, molecular dynamics (MD), density functional theory (DFT), monte carlo (MC), mesoscale modeling, multiscale modeling, machine learning

iCOUP Map 

Partner Institutions

  • Ames Laboratory
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Cornell University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of South Carolina

BES Staff Contact

Viviane Schwartz; Chris Bradley