Professor Andrew Whittaker specialises in polymer chemistry for health and energy applications. 

Professor Andrew Whittaker's research aims to develop innovative solutions to major health and nanotechnology challenges. He is a scientific leader, is currently President of the Pacific Polymer Federation (2019-2022), Past-Chair of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Polymer Division and has served on the Australian Research Council College of Experts. Professor Whittaker’s work in synthesis and characterisation of polymeric materials has underpinned major development programs in several key areas. In the field of materials for photolithography this has been supported by funding from leading semiconductor companies Intel, Sematech, the Dow Chemical Company and Tokyo Electron America. Outcomes include novel high-index resists for 193nm immersion lithography, new concepts for design of non-chemically amplified resists for EUV lithography and development of the use of block copolymers for manufacture. In the field of biomaterials science, Professor Whittaker is most active in developing novel imaging agents for MRI, and introduced a new class of 19F polymeric agents. His team has several programs developing anti-fouling materials for medical devices. He is an expert in the fundamentals of diffusion process in complex solids, and has an international reputation in the field of NMR and MRI of polymeric systems.

Learn more about the Polymer Chemistry Group

Professor Whittaker has been plenary, keynote or invited speaker at many international conferences including within the past three years plenary speaker at the International Conference on Innovation in Polymer Science and Technology 2019 in Bali and the 16th Pacific Polymer Conference, in Singapore. Professor Whittaker has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the RACI Polymer Division Citation (1998), the RACI Polymer Division Polymer Science and Technology Achievement Award (2000), an ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship (2011), the World Famous Scientists Lecturing in Hubei Project (2013), the Paul J. Florey Polymer Research Prize for excellence in polymer research by the Polychar World Forum (2014), and the President’s International Fellowship (Visiting Scientist) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015), The University of Queensland Excellence in Higher Degree by Research Supervision Award (2019), The University of Queensland Partner in Research Excellence Award (2019) and the Indonesian Polymer Association Achievement Award (2019).

Industry Engagement & Collaborations

  • TEL USA Inc. – Novel lithographic materials
  • Dow Chemical Company - Development of novel polymeric resists
  • Intel Corporation – Block copolymers for IC manufacture
  • Sematech – Numerous projects on critical components in IC manufacture
  • Anteo Diagnostics – novel approaches to surface functionalisation
  • Dairy Innovation Australia – The nano-scale structure and ageing of milk powder

Professor Whittaker is a member of numerous international committees of governing bodies in polymer science and technology, and is involved in organising major international conferences. He is the national representative of the Pacific Polymer federation. He has active collaborations with scientists at Melbourne University and University of New South Wales;  Nagoya Institute of Technology (NIT), Japan; Hubei University, Shanghai University, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Jilin University, China; University of California Santa Barbara, USA. He is currently a visiting professor at Hubei University, and has held visiting professor positions at INSA Lyon and NIT and was DICE Chair at University of Nottingham.

Key recent publications

For a full list of Professor Whittaker's publications, click here.

Jiang, Z.;  Alam, M. M.;  Cheng, H.-H.;  Blakey, I.; Whittaker, A. K., Spatial arrangement of block copolymer nanopatterns using a photoactive homopolymer substrate. Nanoscale Adv. 2019, 1 (8), 3078-3085.

Fu, C.;  Demir, B.;  Alcantara, S.;  Kumar, V.;  Han, F.;  Kelly, H. G.;  Tan, X.;  Yu, Y.;  Xu, W.;  Zhao, J.;  Zhang, C.;  Peng, H.;  Boyer, C.;  Woodruff, T. M.;  Kent, S. J.;  Searles, D. J.; Whittaker, A. K., Low-Fouling Fluoropolymers for Bioconjugation and In Vivo Tracking. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2020, 59 (12), 4729-4735.

Fu, C.;  Yu, Y.;  Xu, X.;  Wang, Q.;  Chang, Y.;  Zhang, C.;  Zhao, J.;  Peng, H.; Whittaker, A. K., Functional polymers as metal-free magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Prog. Polym. Sci. 2020, 108, 101286.

Yu, Y.;  Xu, W.;  Huang, X.;  Xu, X.;  Qiao, R.;  Li, Y.;  Han, F.;  Peng, H.;  Davis, T. P.;  Fu, C.; Whittaker, A. K., Proteins Conjugated with Sulfoxide-Containing Polymers Show Reduced Macrophage Cellular Uptake and Improved Pharmacokinetics. ACS Macro Letters 2020, 9, 799-805.

Zhang, C.;  Liu, T.;  Wang, W.;  Bell, C. A.;  Han, Y.;  Fu, C.;  Peng, H.;  Tan, X.;  Král, P.;  Gaus, K.;  Gooding, J. J.; Whittaker, A. K., Tuning of the Aggregation Behavior of Fluorinated Polymeric Nanoparticles for Improved Therapeutic Efficacy. ACS Nano 2020, 14, 7425-7434.

Jiang, Z.;  Seraji, S. M.;  Tan, X.;  Zhang, X.;  Dinh, T.;  Mollazade, M.;  Rowan, A. E.;  Whittaker, A. K.;  Song, P.; Wang, H., Strong, Ultrafast, Reprogrammable Hydrogel Actuators with Muscle-Mimetic Aligned Fibrous Structures. Chem. Mater. 2021, 33 (19), 7818-7828.

Zhang, C.;  Yan, K.;  Fu, C.;  Peng, H.;  Hawker, C. J.; Whittaker, A. K., Biological Utility of Fluorinated Compounds: from Materials Design to Molecular Imaging, Therapeutics and Environmental Remediation. Chem. Rev. 2021, 122 (1), 167-208.

Tan, X.;  Sawczyk, M.;  Chang, Y.;  Wang, Y.;  Usman, A.;  Fu, C.;  Král, P.;  Peng, H.;  Zhang, C.; Whittaker, A. K., Revealing the Molecular-Level Interactions between Cationic Fluorinated Polymer Sorbents and the Major PFAS Pollutant PFOA. Macromolecules 2022, 55 (3), 1077-1087.

Wang, X.;  Zhang, C.;  Sawczyk, M.;  Sun, J.;  Yuan, Q.;  Chen, F.;  Mendes, T. C.;  Howlett, P. C.;  Fu, C.;  Wang, Y.;  Tan, X.;  Searles, D. J.;  Kral, P.;  Hawker, C. J.;  Whittaker, A. K.; Forsyth, M., Ultra-stable all-solid-state sodium metal batteries enabled by perfluoropolyether-based electrolytes. Nature Materials 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41563-022-01296-0.

Zhang, C.;  Yan, K.;  Fu, C.;  Peng, H.;  Hawker, C. J.; Whittaker, A. K., Biological Utility of Fluorinated Compounds: from Materials Design to Molecular Imaging, Therapeutics and Environmental Remediation. Chem. Rev. 2022, 122 (1), 167-208.


Professor Andrew Whittaker directs research funded through more than $62.5 million in competitive grants since 2000. He currently has active funding from the ARC, NHMRC and from industry.