Self-Assembly, Precisely

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Date/Time:Monday, 01 Oct 2012 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics 0005
Phone:515-294-5441
Channel:Colloquium
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Alex Travesset (Iowa State University)

Self-assembly is the spontaneous formation of an organized structure, pattern or phase from molecular unit blocks. Living organisms provide countless examples of extremely sophisticated and precise self-assembly processes. Self-assembly also provides unique opportunities in Materials Science. In this talk, I will discuss the different challenges involved in understanding self-assembly in biological systems and its implications for designing new materials. As concrete examples, I will present results in the problem of engineering nanoparticle supercrystals from DNA linkers, polymer nanocomposites and the characterization of signaling pathways as self-assembled processes. The role of new computational tools, such as Graphic Processing Units (GPU)s will be discussed. I will conclude with some open problems and perspectives.