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Charge-matter Interactions in Bioinspired Supramolecular Materials

This IRG will develop active conductive supramolecular materials that self-assemble in response to electronic and other stimuli. While a variety of stimuli — including chemical, light, and mechanical triggers — have been used to control synthetic supramolecular polymerization, the interactions between charge and synthetic self-assembled systems are poorly understood. This IRG will support an integrated team effort to investigate actively assembling materials inspired by biological systems to seamlessly interface biology and synthetic electronic devices. Research objectives will include (1) design and synthesis of novel active materials fueled by electrical and other energy, (2) integrated computational and experimental mechanistic investigations of active self-assembly systems, and (3) experimental and theoretical characterization of the emergent electronic and mechanical properties of the active supramolecular systems to inform iterative materials design. Building on this IRG’s strong and complementary expertise in materials design and synthesis, as well as experimental and computational studies, a highly interdisciplinary plan is proposed to gain fundamental understanding of charge-matter interactions in bioinspired supramolecular materials. This research will provide foundational knowledge in Synthetic Materials Biology for how to effectively interface living and nonliving matter for future technological development of artificial intelligence and bioelectronics.