Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Special Chemical Physics-Inorganic Chemistry Seminar
Watching dynamics: from patchy colloids to nanoscale biomolecules
Qian Chen, Miller Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Rich understanding across fields emerges from visualizing dynamics of both artificial and natural microscopic systems. First, we observe and utilize analogies between patchy colloids and atoms to develop new self-assembly strategies. "Supracolloidal molecules" not predicted by theory are obtained. Their novelty can be understood using insight from more remote fields, including tessellation and condensed matter physics. Seeing nanoscale dynamics of biomolecules, however, poises a grand opportunity and challenge that bridges many fields from the start. I will show a first success towards reaching this goal, a real-time movie capturing the 3D configuration and motions of DNA-nanocrystal conjugates in solution. This observation has only become possible recently using the new graphene liquid cell transmission electron microscopy, and promises a new avenue to interpret elusive conformational dynamics at nanometer resolution.