2015 Beckman Symposium   

Yu Huang, PhD

Presentation Date:

Yu Huang, PhD

Biomimicry at Molecular Scale: Designing Interfacial Interactions to Achieve Specific Material Structures

University of California, Los Angeles

Materials Science and Engineering


Material formation in nature is precisely controlled in all aspects from crystal nucleation, growth to assembly to deliver superior functions. Specific biomolecule-material interactions have been hypothesized to play important roles in these processes. Proteins, polymers and small molecules have been extensively explored to replicate the degree of control in material formation in vitro and for nonbiogenic materials. However the organic-inorganic interfacial interaction is still far from being understood which hinders the further advancement of biomimetic material formation. In this talk I will share our efforts in decoding the myth of biomolecular specificity to material surface and their roles in controlling crystal nucleation and growth. The selection of facet specific short peptides and their abilities in guiding predictable morphology control of Pt nanocrystals will be first demonstrated. Then detailed experimental and theoretical studies on binding mechanism will be discussed. The end of the talk, the discovered molecular signature for facet specific adsorption will be applied to design small molecules which can modulate the nucleation/growth of the Pt nanocrystals to deliver the expected nanostructures. These studies open up opportunities in understanding the molecular details of inorganic-organic interface interaction, which can one day lead to the development of a library of molecular functions for biomimetic materials design and engineering.



Professor Huang received her Ph.D in physical chemistry from Harvard University and her B.S. in chemistry from University of Science and Technology of China. At UCLA she explores the unique technological opportunities that result from the structure and assembly of nanoscale building blocks. Focusing on the molecular level, she conducts research to unravel the fundamental principles governing nanoscale material synthesis and assembly; and utilizes such principles to design nanostructures and nanodevices with unique functions and properties to address critical challenges in electronics, energy science and biomedicine. Recognitions she received include the World’s Top 100 Young Innovators, the Sloan Fellowship, the PECASE, DARPA Young Faculty Award and the NIH New Innovator Award.

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