"From Nanocrystal to Functional Material: A Multiphysics Approach to Self-Assembly"
Self-assembly is a technologically relevant and evolving method for creating materials that are poised for broad impact in energy security, environmental sustainability, human health, and civil infrastructure. I will present our group’s work in the area of nanocrystal assembly for plasmonics, where shaped nanocrystals serve as the building blocks for resonant optical nanojunctions that facilitate intense electromagnetic field localization and inelastic electron tunneling. We utilize a multiphysics approach where interfacial forces, entropy-driven steric forces, hydrophobic forces, and particle shape are all chemically programmed and integrated to achieve a desired structure. In this approach, non-specific intermolecular interactions of grafted metal nanocrystals are capable of dictating structural parameters such as nanocrystal valence and orientation, leading to unique and surprising materials.