Scientists will use high-throughput techniques to identify materials whose internal structure changes shape in response to external stimuli like heat or light.
An international research team has received a $2.9 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to design nanomaterials whose internal structure changes shape in response to stimuli such as heat or light.
Each of these novel materials will be constructed from three types of components: inorganic nanoparticles with desired optical or electrical properties; peptides that bond to these nanoparticles; and special molecules called spacers, which sit between the peptides and bend in the presence of heat, light or other triggers.
When stimulated, the spacers will cause the arrangement of nanoparticles within the material to morph -- a process that can lead to interesting and useful effects.
Shape-shifting materials of the kind the researchers are planning to create could have use in applications, including color-changing sensors and plasmonic circuits that divert light in two directions.
The project is being led by Paras Prasad, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the University at Buffalo's departments of chemistry, physics, electrical engineering and medicine, and executive director of UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB). Funding comes from the Mathematics, Information and Life Sciences Directorate of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, with Hugh DeLong in that office serving as program manager.