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Seminar 11/6/2013 - Michael Strano, MIT: New Concepts in Molecular and Energy Transport within Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene

Abstract: Our laboratory has been interested in how 1D and 2D electronic materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene, respectively, can be utilized to illustrate new concepts in molecular transport and energy transfer.   In the first example, we predict and demonstrate the concept of thermopower waves for energy generation(1).  Coupling an exothermic chemical reaction with a thermally conductive CNT creates a self-propagating reactive wave driven along its length. We realize such waves in 1D and 2D conduits and show that they produce concomitant electrical pulses of high specific power >7 kW/kg.  Such waves of high power density may find uses as unique energy sources, including fuel cells and thermal batteries.  In the second system, we fabricate and study SWNT ion channels for the first time(2) and show that the longest, highest aspect ratio, and smallest diameter synthetic nanopores examined to date can demonstrate unique oscillations in electro-osmotic current at specific ranges of electric field, that are the signatures of coherence resonance, yielding self-generated rhythmic and frequency locked transport. The observed oscillations in the current occur due to a coupling between stochastic pore blocking and a diffusion limitation that develops at the pore mouth during proton transport, constituting the first observation of this type of organized transport in non-biological nanopores.  Lastly, our laboratory has been interested in how semiconducting single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) can be modified such that their fluorescent emission is modulated in response to specific molecules, hence creating a new class of sensor (3).  Such sensors have important advantages, including enhanced optical penetration of tissues in the near infrared, reduced auto-fluorescence, infinite resistance to chemical photobleaching and most recently, single molecule analyte sensitivity.  The ability to detect and quantify the adsorption and desorption of single molecules in a label free manner motivates new mathematical approaches to extract data from massively parallel nanosensor arrays that are independently addressed.  This presentation will review our recent efforts to apply these sensors to various biological systems and to develop mathematical approaches to optimize stochastic detection.

Bio: Professor Michael S. Strano is currently a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He received is B.S from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware both in Chemical Engineering.  He was a post doctoral research fellow at Rice University in the departments of Chemistry and Physics under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley.  From 2003 to 2007, Michael was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before moving to MIT.  His research focuses on biomolecule/nanoparticle interactions and the surface chemistry of low dimensional systems, nano-electronics, nanoparticle separations, and applications of vibrational spectroscopy to nanotechnology.  Michael is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including a 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2006 Beckman Young Investigator Award, the 2006 Coblentz Award for Molecular Spectroscopy, the Unilever Award from the American Chemical Society in 2007 for excellence in colloidal science, and the 2008 Young Investigator Award from the Materials Research Society, the 2008 Allen P. Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and recently selected as a member of Popular Science's Brilliant 10.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.

Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium

Date/Time: 11/06/13 at 12:00 pm - 11/06/13 at 1:00 pm

Category: PRISM/PCCM Seminar Series

Department: PRISM