Nanomaterials by Design

Materials are the backbone of technology. Whenever a materials displays a new function, it transforms society: biodegradable scaffolds will enable the regeneration of tissues, shape memory alloys enabled stents that repair clogged vessels, superhydrophobic surfaces will prevent ice deposition on surfaces, ultrahard coatings will enable plastic electronics and reduce waste of materials and energy by abating friction and wear.

The properties of materials are dictated by their structure.  It is expected that complete control over the structure of materials will be an essential part in creating sustainable technologies that will reduce greenhouse emissions, purify air and water, and provide affordable healthcare solutions.

Our laboratory is exploring a radically different approach to the production of materials, in which every structural parameter can be designed. This project will aim at (i) providing materials with new properties and better performance, but also at (ii) resolving important scientific questions about the relationship between nanostructure and properties in materials. 

The student will be synthesizing nanoparticles, learning and developing self-assembly strategies, and processing the materials by plasma processing. The materials will be then characterized by nanoindentations to verify the effect of plasma processing on the mechanical properties of the nanoparticle superlattice.

Program mentor:  Ludovico Cademartiri, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University