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Program Highlights for year 2016

Biomimetic 4-D Printing

Shape morphing systems may find potential application in smart textiles, autonomous robotics, biomedical devices, drug delivery and tissue engineering. Lewis and Mahadevan at the Harvard MRSEC have developed 4-D printing by creating a hydrogel-cellulose fibril ink that could be printed to induce a programmable shape change

Glycodendrimers Can Sense Variants of Lectins by Agglutination

A dendrimer is a synthetically made branched molecule. In this work, a family of amphiphilic Janus dendrimers bearing precise carbohydrate residues arranged in a defined sequence – glycodendrimers – were used to make vesicles that could be agglutinated by naturally occurring lectins that binds to carbohydrates. The lectins, called galectins, are human adhesion and growth regulatory lectins.

6th Annual Philadelphia Materials Day

The 6th annual Philadelphia Materials Day was held on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Bossone Research Center at Drexel University. This joint venture between Penn and Drexel Universities was attended by over 1100 students and parents. Each year faculty and their students present demos on materials-related themes of interest to K-12 students.

Dirac Line Nodes in Inversion Symmetric Crystals

Topological insulators, which were first introduced at Penn, are new materials with novel features such as protected states that hold potential for quantum computing.

Identifying Structural Flow Defects in Disordered SolidsUsing Machine Learning Methods

We are often taught that the difference between solids and liquids is that in solids, each of the constituent particles has a well-defined average position while in liquids, particles are constantly rearranging and changing their neighbors.

Nanoscale Interfacial Complexation in Emulsion (NICE)

Microcapsules that encapsulate and protect molecules and materials by forming isolated aqueous compartments inside hollow shells are widely used in a variety of applications in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and agriculture industries.

Liquid Crystal Janus Droplets

Janus colloids are composed of two-faced particles with distinctive surfaces and/or compartments. Lee, Collings, & Yodh have created the first Janus particles with a liquid crystal (LC) compartment. The droplets were prepared by combining microfluidic and phase separation techniques, and the LC compartment morphologies can be easily controlled to realize unique confining geometries (Fig.

All Nanocrystal Electronics

Synthetic methods produce colloidal nanocrystals that are metallic, semiconducting, and insulating. These nanocrystals have been typically used to form only a single component in devices. IRG-4 has exploited the library of colloidal nanocrystals and designed the materials, surfaces, and interfaces to construct all the components of field-effect transistors.

Revealing Hidden Phases in Materials

Strong interactions at the interface between a crystalline film and substrate can impart new structure to thin films. Here, a germanium surface (purple atoms) squeezes a BaTiO3 thin film above, revealing a hidden phase not seen in the bulk. The hidden phase of BaTiO3 shows oxygen octahedra cages (shaded in aqua) alternating in size. By combining theory, synchrotron x-ray diffraction, and electron microscopy, a new materials design approach has uncovered hidden traits of a material that can be expressed through articulated forces at an interface.

Electrocatalytic Surfaces Using Bulk Metallic Glass Nanostructures

Metallic glass nanostructures provide a new platform for electrocatalytic applications. Several surface modification strategies that remove or add metal species (top images) improve the catalytic activity of metallic glass nanostructures. These strategies were demonstrated for three key electrocatalytic reactions important for renewable energy.