Learning from Biology: Viral-Templated Materials and Devices

ChEMS Seminar

Speaker: Dr. Elaine D. Haberer

Department of Electrical Engineering 

UC Riverside

Driven by scaling requirements and the pursuit of novel material properties, nanotechnology has advanced rapidly.  Given the lack of suitable man-made tools for precise nanoscale assembly, many researchers have looked to biology for inspiration.  The natural world uses biomolecules such as peptides and proteins which have nanoscale characteristic lengths, considerable chemical diversity, and molecular recognition capabilities to expertly direct the assembly of inorganic materials.  The size, shape, morphology, topological organization, and crystal structure of an inorganic material can all be dictated by biomolecules during in vivo assembly.  By understanding and harnessing the capabilities of Nature, this extraordinary nanoscale precision can be used to build technological materials and devices which are not possible with conventional chemical synthesis or microfabrication approaches alone.  In our ongoing work, peptides binding technologically significant materials have been integrated into the structural proteins of a filamentous virus.  This has allowed the realization of unique materials and device geometries, as well as the opportunity for enhanced performance, functionality, and/or green or low cost manufacturing.


Biographical Sketch:

Elaine D. Haberer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Riverside.  She is also a core faculty member in the Materials Science and Engineering Program.  She received her Ph.D. in Materials from UC Santa Barbara.  Prior to joining the faculty at UC Riverside, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the California NanoSystems Institute on the UC Santa Barbara campus and a visiting researcher at MIT.  Prof. Haberer’s research interests include bio-templated materials for electronic, optoelectronic, and energy applications; nano-structured hybrid materials; and novel top-down and bottom-up assembly techniques.