Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New microfluidic approach for the directed assembly of functional materials

08.10.2013
University of Illinois researchers have developed a new approach with applications in materials development for energy capture and storage and for optoelectronic materials.

According to Charles Schroeder, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the results show that peptide precursor materials can be aligned and oriented during their assembly into polypeptides using tailored flows in microfluidic devices.


An optical micrograph of the microchannel junction with red dye flow-focused in water shows experimental conditions used for nanostructure assembly.

The research was a collaboration between the labs of Schroeder and William Wilson, a research professor in materials science and engineering and the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at Illinois. Their findings were recently published in a paper entitled, “Fluidic-directed assembly of aligned oligopeptides with pi-conjugated cores” in Advanced Materials.

“A grand challenge in the field of materials science is the ability to direct the assembly of advanced materials for desired functionality,” says Amanda Marciel, a graduate student in Schroeder’s research group. “However, design of new materials is often hindered by our inability to control the structural complexity of synthetic polymers.”

“To address the need for controlled processing of functional materials, we developed a microfluidic-based platform to drive the assembly of synthetic oligopeptides,” Marciel explained. “Using a microfluidic device, we assembled DFAA and DFAG into one dimensional nanostructures using a planar extensional flow generated in a cross-slot geometry.”

The dynamics of the assembly process can be followed in real-time using fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy.

“The assembled nanostructure is spectrally distinct from the synthetic oligopeptide monomer, which can be used to monitor the dynamics of nanostructure formation,” Marciel added. “Using precise hydrodynamic control of the microfluidic platform, the researchers demonstrated the formation of multiple parallel-aligned synthetic oligopeptide nanostructures and their subsequent disassembly. By modulating volumetric flow rates in the device they were able to manipulate the position of the fluid-fluid interface at the microchannel junction.

During this process, nanostructures initially formed at the reactive laminar interface are submerged into the advancing acidic stream, thereby preserving the integrity of the preformed nanostructures while initiating formation of an aligned nanostructure at the new interface position.

Marciel says this research shows that is possible to use microfluidic-based flows to direct the structural assembly of polymers into functional materials.

“Our approach has the potential to enable reproducible and reliable fabrication of advanced materials.” Marciel said. “Achieving nanoscale ordering in assembled materials has become the primary focus of recent efforts in the field. These approaches will ultimately lead to desired morphology in functional materials, which will enhance their ability to capture and store energy.”

“Our research team is quite interdisciplinary and has a unique range of skills to study materials assembly,” Schroeder said. “Our group has extensive experience in the design and fabrication of microfluidic devices and fluorescence imaging of soft materials." The team’s ultimate goal is to assemble the organic equivalent of typical semiconducting materials.

“This would open the door to developments of materials with application to photovoltaic devices, solid-state lighting, energy harvesting, and catalytic processes,” she said.

In addition to Marciel, Schroeder, and Wilson, the paper's authors included, Melikhan Tanyeri, Brian D. Wall, and John D. Tovar. The team used spectroscopic and analytical tools at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Lab to conduct its research.

Contact: Charles M. Schroeder, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/333-3906.

Writer: Sarah Williams, assistant director of communications, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 217/244-0541.

Charles Schroeder | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously
17.01.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved
13.01.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>