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Program Highlights

Bioinspired DNA Origami Capsids

DNA origami technology is used to develop building blocks that self-assemble into predetermined finite-sized structures.

Disclination loops in 3D Active Nematics

Current active matter systems, such as self propelled colloids or migrating cells, are inherently 2D, which limits the potential engineering applications. Brandeis developed the first 3D active nematic material by mixing an isotropic active fluid (Microtubules + kinesin motors) with a passive nematic colloidal liquid crystal (fd viruses).

Rheology of active isotropic gels

Cytoplasmic flows, bacterial colonies, and algal blooms are ubiquitous examples of active suspensions assembled from self-propelled particles, which internally inject energy into their suspending medium and, at sufficient concentrations, can produce large-scale flows.

Repulsive and attractive colloidal rafts with switchable comformational states

We describe hierarchical assemblages of colloidal rods that mimic some of the complexity and reconfigurability of biological structures. In particular, we show that chiral rod-like inclusions dissolved in an achiral colloidal membrane assemble into rafts, which are adaptable finite-sized liquid droplets that exhibit two distinct chiral states of opposite handedness.

Interfacial Charge Engineering in Ferroelectric-Gated Mott Transistors

Nebraska MRSEC researchers have fabricated complex oxide heterostructures with atomic precision, exploiting them to build a prototype nonvolatile Mott transistor.

Building Enduring Pathways in STEM: Incorporating Traditional Ways of Knowing in Materials Research

This unique partnership between Navajo Technical University and the Harvard MRSEC will build enduring pathways for undergraduate Native American students into STEM by including traditional tribal perspectives and methods of scientific inquiry in materials science research and education.

Acoustophoretic Printing: Printing Soft Materials with Sound

To enhance drop formation, a team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Lewis created a new printing method that relies on generating sound waves to assist gravity, dubbing this new technique acoustophoretic printing.

Microreactors for Abiotic Ligation of nanoRNA

The scientific understanding of evolution is extensive, but limited by some notable, if not embarrassing, gaps.  Among the great challenges of basic science is to understand the origin of life, and, in particular, the origin of the double helix structure of stacked base pairs of DNA and RNA, life’s most remarkable molecular creation.

Hydrogels from DNA mimicking polymers and DNA

Radical, light initiated chemical reactions were used to synthesize multifunctional, star-shaped polmyers with each chain end bound to a DNA mimicking polymer (the “Click Nucleic Acid or CNA developed with the support of the NSF).  

The Role of Chain Connectivity Across an Interface on the Dynamics of a Nanostructured Block Copolymer

Princeton investigators developed an approach to directly measure the influence of chain connectivity on the glass transition temperature of copolymers for the first time. This development is important as it provides insights into the design of copolymer interfaces for applications in which transport of entities is important.