Exploring the Interfaces Between Silicon and Soft Materials
Bozhi Tian, PhD
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
University of Chicago
Venue: Ryan Hall 4003
Soft materials are complex, with unique characteristics and functionalities spanning multiple length scales. Silicon-based materials are typically rigid and their direct interfaces with soft materials still represent an area with many open questions and unknown opportunities. To enable new studies at these interfaces, it is however important to target the right organizational length scale. For example, in the case of sub-cellular organization, this length scale is on the order of tens to hundreds of nanometers. In this talk, I will present several soft material-enabled exploratory approaches for the syntheses and applications of nanostructured silicon. Some of these silicon materials are deformable and have been tested with extra- and intracellular components (i.e., extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton and phospholipid bilayer) with an initial emphasis on biomechanics and bioelectrics. In addition to providing new knowledge of nanoscale silicon-based chemistry, these studies will deepen our understanding of the fundamental limits of physical and biological signal transduction between subcellular components and synthetic systems. At the end of my talk, I will discuss future opportunities in materials chemistry toward seamless silicon-based biointegration.