ChEMS Seminar: Understanding Self-assembly in Making Functional Materials

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Professor George C. Schatz
Department of Chemistry &
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Northwestern University

Self-assembly of amphiphilic molecules provides a well-known way to make nanoscale (and larger) supramolecular structures including micelles, ribbons, sheets and aggregates.  Recently there has been growing interest in the coupling of this self-assembly chemistry with silver and gold nanoparticles, and with dye chromophores, leading to a new generation of materials of interest for optical devices and biodetection. This talk describes the self-assembly modeling and optical properties of two classes of these materials: DNA-linked nanoparticle superlattices and peptide amphiphile fibers and ribbons with embedded dyes or nanoparticles. The presentation will present a novel coarse-graining strategy for describing the assembly of DNA-linked superlattices, and models of the optical properties of the resulting structures, leading to new classes of plasmonic metamaterials, and photonic structures.

Bio: George C. Schatz is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Clarkson University and a Ph.D. at Caltech. He was a postdoc at MIT and has been at Northwestern since 1976. 

Schatz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, and he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry since 2005. Awards include Sloan and Dreyfus Fellowships, the Fresenius Award of Phi Lambda Upsilon, the Max Planck Research Award, the Bourke Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Ver Steeg Fellowship of Northwestern University, the Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute, the Herschbach Medal, the Debye Award of the ACS, the S F Boys-A Rahman Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2014 Hirschfelder Award of the University of Wisconsin, and the 2014 Mulliken Medal of the University of Chicago. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society and of the AAAS. He was honored in the George C. Schatz Festschrift of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Vol 113, 2009. In 2010 he appeared on the Times Higher Education list of Top 100 Chemists of the Past Decade, and in 2014 he was on the Thompson-Reuters list of highest cited scientists.

Schatz is a theoretician who studies the optical, structural and thermal properties of nanomaterials, including plasmonic nanoparticles, DNA and peptide nanostructures, and carbon-based materials, with applications in chemical and biological sensing, electronic and biological materials, high performance fibers, and solar energy. His past work has also been concerned with understanding the dynamics of chemical reactions in the gas phase and in gas-surface collisions. Schatz has published three books and over 800 papers.