Mid-Career Researcher Award

April 25, 2019

The Mid-Career Researcher Award recognizes exceptional achievements in materials research made by mid-career professionals. Endowed by MilliporeSigma.

for outstanding contributions in nanoparticle self-assembly of functional nanomaterials and for leadership within the materials community"

Self-assembly techniques are one of the powerful and efficient methods to the synthesis of nanostructured materials. Using these techniques and their combination with top-down fabrication processes, materials with hierarchical feature can be produced with form and function in multiple length scales. We synthesize multifunctional nanoparticles through surfactant-assisted noncovalent interactions using molecular and nanoparticle building blocks. Self-assembly of these nano-building blocks results in functional materials that exhibit well-defined 1–3D morphologies and hierarchical architectures for a wide range of applications. Through pressure-directed assembly, an external pressure has been utilized to engineer nanoparticle assembly to induce structural transformation of complex structures from the nano-building blocks in both mesostructures and atomic crystal structures. By manipulating nanoparticle coupling through external pressure, a reversible change in their assemblies and properties can be achieved and demonstrated. In addition, over a certain threshold, the external pressure will force these nanoparticles into contact, thereby allowing the formation and consolidation of new 1–3D nanostructures.  Through self-assembly, materials engineering and synthesis become remarkably flexible with morphology or architecture readily tuned to produce desirable properties for practical application.

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