California NanoSystems Institute
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May 30, 2006

Fraser Stoddart Director, CNSI, Chemistry & Biochemistry and Douglas Philp, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom

Streaming Video

NanoSystems Seminar Spring Quarter 2006 - Season Finale
Engineering Big Time: There's Plenty of Room at the Top

An estranged Edinbugger and a displaced Weggie will compare the emergence of nanotechnology with the golden age of Victorian railway engineers, who, in the 1860s, changed time itself. It turns out that building bridges that have stood the test of time in the 19th century is not so different from making molecular machinery in the 21st century.

Immediately following the seminar, there will be an outdoor reception in the "Court of Sciences" to honor the Guest Speaker and to commemorate the last seminar of the Spring 2006 Quarter.

May 23, 2006

Douglas Philp
Reader in Chemistry
University of St. Andrews, UK

Streaming Video

Harnessing Replication for Nanoscale Manufacturing
Abstract: According to many observers, the science of nanotechnology is about to transform our lives. We are about to enter a bewildering future where the science of the nanometre scale will dominate and machines and materials only a few billionths of a metre in size will be able to perform seemingly unbelievable tasks. Are these predictions the realm of science fact or science fiction? Are we about to create a technology we cannot control? The answers to these questions will depend on our ability to manufacture and, more importantly, control and manipulate materials and components on this minute scale. Traditional manufacturing methods would seem to be unsuitable. Fortunately, nanotechnology has already been largely perfected by Nature. The machinery found in the cells which make up living organisms operate like nanofactories, manufacturing, moving and assembling structures at the nanometre scale with apparent ease. The blueprint for these factories is held in the genetic code of the cell and when a new cell is required, an exact copy of the blueprint is made and the cell itself divides. This process of copying or replication is central to the efficiency of biological systems. So, if cells can copy themselves, could we manufacture synthetic nanomachines or nanofactories in the same way by giving them a blueprint and allowing them to replicate? In our research, we are trying to learn lessons about replication from Nature. We hope to develop systems that can manufacture themselves from our blueprint and which can use this blueprint to make exact copies of themselves without our intervention. We are trying to learn how to control, integrate and network these systems so that they can not only make exact copies of themselves, but also become a functioning part of larger and more complex systems. Our ultimate goal is the creation of a toolkit that enables the objects and devices needed to drive the development of nanotechnology to be manufactured quickly, safely and cleanly.

May 16, 2006

Ren Sun
Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
Member, CNSI
University of California, Los Angeles

Streaming Video

Molecular Switch for Herpesvirus Replication
We combine biology, micro/nanotechnology, mathematic modeling, and imaging technology to understand the mechanisms by which herpesviruses interact with the host and to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Herpesviruses have two distinct life cycles, latency and lytic replication. We have identified Rta (replication and transcription activator) as the molecular switch between latency and lytic replication for herpesviruses such as KSHV and MHV-68. Activation of Rta leads to lytic replication cycle and inhibition of Rta results in latency. To systematically define cellular signals that regulate Rta activity, we used high-throughput technology to identify and mapped cellular signaling pathways that regulate Rta activity. Currently, we are combining microfluidic technology and mathematical modeling to define the stochiastic switch process at the single-cell level. In addition, we use imaging technology to characterize the significance of the switch for virus replication in mice. Based on our study of the switch, we have engineered a virus with constitutively active Rta. This virus lacks the latency cycle but is active in lytic replication, and stimulates strong immune response. Immunization with this virus protects the mice from challenge infection. By defining the molecular switch, we have developed a novel vaccine strategy against herpesviruses.

May 09, 2006

Philip Kim
Assistant Professor of Physics
Kim Research Group
Columbia University

Streaming Video

Electrical Transport in Molecules, Nanotubes and Graphene
Recently available carbon based nanoscale materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene, a single atomic sheet of graphite, provide us ample opportunities to explore unique electric transport phenomena in low dimensional systems. Novel transport phenomena based on enhanced quantum physics in these nanoscaled structures may lead to new device applications. In this presentation, I will discuss exotic electric transport phenomena in carbon based nanomaterials, such as room temperature ballistic transport in nanotubes, unusual quantum Hall effect in graphene, and single molecular electronics utilizing carbon nanotube electrodes.

(1) X. Guo et al., "Recognition and Switching of Molecules Wired between Carbon Nanotube Electrodes", Science 311, 356- 359 (2006)
(2) Y. Zhang, Y. Tan, H. L. Stormer, and P. Kim, "Experimental Observation of Quantum Hall Effect Berry's Phase in Graphene," Nature 438, 201-204 (2005)

May 02, 2006

David Bensimon
Single Molecule Manipulations and Study of Biological Nano-Motors
New techniques have allowed for the manipulation, visualization and study of single enzymes and in particular molecular motors. I will describe how one particular technique (magnetic tweezers) can be used to study the nano-motors that process DNA in the cell, control its topology, transport it, open it, etc. Very detailed and quantitative models of these enzymes function can be deduced from these measurements.

April 25, 2006

Anna Wu, Ph.D.
Poster PDF

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Engineered Antibodies at the Intersection of Bio and Nano
The convergence of disparate research fields can often result in leaps in progress, and the intersection of the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology provides a prime example.

Materials science at the nanoscale has provided an abundance of new nanoparticles, nanosensors, and nanodevices with remarkable physical and chemical properties.

In order to apply these technologies to biology and medicine, however, the information content of these materials must be enhanced. In other words, general methods to confer biological specificity are required.

Nature has provided us with a suite of compounds with exquisite biological specificities, namely, antibodies. In vitro display technologies allow the generation of artificial libraries of antibodies and antibody-like protein domains, enabling rapid selection of agents with any desired specificity.

Through protein engineering, antibody binding domains can be reformatted to produce reagents optimized for in vitro and in vivo applications. Antibodies themselves are nanoscale particles, and coupling of engineered antibodies provides a general method to impart biospecificity on nanodevices.

Nanobiotechnology stands to greatly enhance our ability to monitor health and detect disease, to tailor a patient's treatment to match the specific biological changes that have occurred in his/her disease, and to provide novel delivery approaches and therapeutic modalities to treat disease.

April 19, 2006

Klaus Müllen
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

Poster PDF

Streaming Video

Expanding Benzene to Giant Graphenes: Towards Molecular Devices
Utilization of organic π-system as semiconductor components of electronic and optoelectronic devices requires a careful molecular design and a complex supramolecular architecture. In our synthesis-driven approach toward molecular electronics, the benzene ring acts as a versatile building block of extended π-systems. With dimensionality and size of molecules as key guidelines, we proceed from 1D- and 3D polyphenylenes to 2D- giant graphenes. The subsequent step toward putting molecules to work in devices is processing, i.e. creating a defined macroscopic state of matter. Columnar superstructures obtained from nano graphene discs are introduced as charge transport channels with a unique self-healing ability. Various devices are considered such as sensors, field effect transistors, and solar cells whose performances are discussed in terms of the molecular and supramolecular design. Miniaturization is a key issue, and this was approached by utilizing scanning tunnelling microscopy and single molecule spectroscopy. Single molecule field effect transistors and single photon emitters for cryptography are introduced as fascinating chemistry-based examples. The supramolecular order of processable graphene molecule also leads to unique carbon mesophases which upon pyrolysis yield unprecedented carbon micro- and nanostructures.

Klaus Müllen joined the Max-Planck-Society in 1989 as one of the directors of the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research. He obtained a Diplom-Chemiker degree at the University of Colognein 1969 after work with Professor E. Vogel. His Ph.D. degree was granted by the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1972 where he undertook research with Professor F. Gerson on twisted pi-systems and EPR spectroscopic properties of the corresponding radical anions. In 1972 he joined the group of Professor J.F.M. Oth at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich where he worked in the field of dynamic NMR spectroscopy and electrochemistry. He received his habilitation from the ETH Zurich in 1977 and was appointed Privatdozent. In 1979 he became a Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Cologne, and accepted an offer of a chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of Mainz in 1983. He received a call to theUniversity of Gottingen in 1988 and to the University of Cologne in 1992. In 1993 he was awarded the "Max-Planck-Forschungspreis" and in 1997 the "Philip Morris-Forschungspreis". In 1999 he became member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina.In addition his scientific work was awarded with the: 2001 Bayer Distinguished Lecturer (Washington University), Smets-Lecturer (Belgium), Nozoe Award (San Diego); 2002: Lane Lecturer (Champaign, Urbana), Kyoto University Foundation Award; 2003 Science Award of the "Stifterverband" and Member of the Selection Committee of the Franquis Foundation.

He has been visiting scientist at the University of Osaka (JSPS), the University of Shanghai, the University of Leuven, the University of Jerusalem, the University of Cambridge and theUniversity of Rennes and the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium (SMETS Lecture). 2001 he was given a honorary doctorate by the University of Sofia.

His current research interests focus on synthetic macromolecular chemistry, supramolecular chemistry and material sciences. A crucial goal is the correlation of molecular structures and supramolecular structures with physical properties. Typical examples are:
  • new polymer-forming reactions including methods of organometallic chemistry;
  • new initiators and additives for radical or anionic polymerization;
  • multi-dimensional polymers with, e.g., ribbon-type, sheet-type or shape-persistent three-dimensional structures;
  • functional polymeric networks, in particular for catalytic purposes;
  • sulfur containing polymers;
  • chemistry with single molecules;
  • charge-transport properties of polymers and related oligomers including doping mechanisms and charge-storage capacity (EPR spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry);
  • polymers with built-in control of supramolecular architecture and morphology, in particular by hydrogen bonding;
  • molecular materials with liquid crystalline properties

April 11, 2006

Harry Kroto
University of Sussex
Florida State University

Poster PDF

Streaming Video

Architecture in Nanospace

Abstract Description: As Chemistry, Physics and Biology mingle and become in some areas indistinguishable so multidisciplinary research is leading to the fascinating and massive "new" field of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (N&N- not to be confused with M&M). Ingenious strategies for the creation of molecules with complex exactly specified structures and as well as function are being developed- basically molecules that do things are now being made. In fact N&N is overarching and may be considered "The Frontier Chemistry of the 21st Century". When the molecule C60, Buckminsterfullerene, and its elongated cousins, the carbon nanotubes (or "Buckytubes"), were discovered it suddenly became clear that our previous understanding of the structural and dynamic factors governing carbon chemistry at nanometer scale dimensions was quite wrong. With our new perspective we can see, on the horizon, countless exciting possible applications in numerous diverse areas ranging from materials for civil engineering to advanced molecular electronics and medicine. The advances promise to transform our lives and also global economics. We now know we should one day be able to build buildings so strong that they will not fall down in earthquakes and aeroplanes so light that they will be able to glide to safety if the engines fail. We should be able to construct supercomputers that will fit in your wrist watch and take almost no power and develop delicate surgical techniques which will enable us to carry out medical operations effectively non-invasively. If these prospects are to be realized however a paradigm shift in synthetic control strategies will be necessary to enable us to create really large molecules with accurately defined structures at the atomic level. This presents one of the greatest technical challenges for 21st Century and many researchers, especially chemists, materials scientists and engineers are working towards solving this problem. It is however vital to realize that some of the most important breakthroughs come from left field and so it is often impossible to direct research successfully towards specific goals. In this context it is worth noting the fact that the original discovery of the nanometer (one billionth of a meter) sized C60 molecule was made while following up results obtained in studies of objects a thousand million million million million (1027) times larger. These are the giant dusty gas clouds that mingle with the stars in our galaxy- the Milky Way. These massive objects, which can be up to 100 light years in size, are the birthplaces of stars and planets like our Sun and the Earth.

Sir Harry Kroto was the Nobel Laureate for Chemistry in 1996 for his joint efforts with Robert Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley in the discovery of fullerenes.

April 04, 2006

Daniel E. Morse
Professor of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, MCDB
University of California, Santa Barbara

Poster PDF

Biomolecular Mechanism of Silica Synthesis Opens Novel Routes to Low-Temperature Nanofabrication of Silicones, Semiconductors, Ferroelectrics and Other Advanced Materials

Abstract Description: Biological systems fabricate multifunctional, high-performance materials at low temperatures and near-neutral pH with a precision of three-dimensional nanostructural control that exceeds the capabilities of present human engineering. Using the tools of biotechnology and genetic engineering, we discovered the unanticipated mechanism of simultaneous catalysis and templating governing the nanofabrication of silica in a biological system. We then translated this mechanism to develop a new low-temperature route for the synthesis of a wide range of silicones, organic polymers and nanostructured metal oxide, -hydroxide and -phosphate semiconductor thin films without the use of organic templates. This new synthesis method is generic, yielding more than 30 different inorganic thin films and nanostructured, bimetallic perovskite ferroelectrics. Because kinetic control is achieved at low temperature, thus circumventing the thermodynamic default, many of the inorganic materials made by this process exhibit morphologies and electronic properties not observable in the corresponding products made by conventional high temperature processes. The electronic properties of some of these novel materials suggest strong advantages for high-efficiency photovoltaics, lightweight batteries and other energy and information storage applications. Because no organics are used, the resulting products exhibit very high purity, making the process fully integrable with MOCVD and other conventional manufacturing methods. Because synthesis occurs from solution, adaptation to roll-to-roll and other high throughput methods may be possible.

Location: La Kretz Hall 110