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Polyhedral Crystalline Membranes

Event Type
Mechanical Science & Engineering
190 Engineering Sciences Bldg.
Sep 2, 2014   3:00 pm  
Professor Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Northwestern University
Davida Bluhm
(217) 300-6865
Originating Calendar
MechSE Seminars


Polyhedral geometries have beguiled scientists and mathematicians for millennia. In recent times, polyhedral shapes have been identified at the microscopic level in crystalline shells such as fullerenes, viral capsids, and protein-based bacterial organelles. The most frequently found polyhedron in homogeneous crystalline shells is the icosahedron. This talk demonstrates that other geometries arise spontaneously in shells formed by more than one component. The spontaneous buckling of a crystalline shell with two coexisting elastic components at different relative concentrations is described. Computational and experimental evidence will be provided for the spontaneous buckling phenomena in shells made of mixtures of cationic and anionic amphiphiles, where electrostatics drives their co-assembly, and orders the assembly into faceted ionic structures with various crystalline domains. This work explains the existence of various regular and irregular polyhedral shells found in nature, and provides the principles for designing nanocontainers with specific shapes and symmetries for numerous applications in the materials and life sciences.

About the Speaker

Monica Olvera de La Cruz obtained her B.A. in Physics from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in 1981, and her Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge University in 1985. She is the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science & Engineering; Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy; and of Chemical & Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. She has developed theoretical models to determine the thermodynamics, statistics, and dynamics of macromolecules in complex environments including multicomponent solutions of heterogeneous synthetic and biological molecules, and molecular electrolytes. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Host:  Professor Sascha Hilgenfeldt

* Times, dates, and titles are subject to change. Check for updated information. This seminar counts toward the requirements for ME 590 and TAM 500.  

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