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
High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing
20.07.2017 | University of Leeds
Here's a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties
20.07.2017 | Rice University
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.07.2017 | Life Sciences
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy