Fundamental colloid and interface science plays a key role in the design of novel functional nanoparticles in a broad range of applications in energy and protein drug delivery. To guide the design and synthesis of nanocrystalline catalysts for electrochemical energy storage, the relationships between catalyst activities and structure will be described for highly active metal oxides. In particular, a new concept is being developed to relate the activities of cobalt and nickel based perovskite electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction to the covalency between metal 3d states and O 2p orbitals that governs the formation of oxygen vacancies.
For processing and subcutaneous delivery of monoclonal antibodies (~10 nm colloidal particles) it is challenging to achieve low viscosities and high stabilities at high concentrations from 100 to 300 mg/ml. Advancements in this field are being guided by a deeper understanding of protein-protein interactions and morphology at high concentration with small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), static light scattering (SLS)) and dynamic techniques (dynamic light scattering (DLS), and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy) combined with shear rheology.
Whereas numerous studies of stabilization of nanoparticles (NPs) and foams in electrolytes have examined biological fluids, there is significant interest in media with much higher ionic strengths including seawater and brines encountered in subsurface oil and gas reservoirs. The mechanisms relative to stabilization and transport of nanoparticle dispersions and foams will be presented for both low molecular weight surfactants and polyelectrolytes. Applications with enormous implications for global energy development and environmental impact include CO2 sequestration/enhanced oil recovery, electromagnetic imaging, nanocapsules for delivery and green fracture fluids.