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Materials Science Research Lecture

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online Event
Conformational Dynamics in Supramolecular Nanostructures and Applications to Water Purification
Julia Ortony, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Webinar Link:

Webinar ID: 957 0877 2987


Small molecule self-assembly is an established route for producing high surface area nanostructures with readily customizable chemistries and precise molecular organization. However, these structures are fragile, exhibiting molecular exchange, migration, and rearrangement, and ultimately disassociate upon drying. These dynamic instabilities can be controlled, but first the internal conformational dynamics must be understood. In this seminar, I will discuss experimental strategies used and developed in our group to measure dynamics within molecular self-assemblies with sub-nanometer resolution. Then I will discuss a new self-assembly platform designed by my group, the aramid amphiphile (AA), that forms nanoribbons with suppressed internal dynamics and extraordinary stability. I will conclude by discussing our ongoing work to develop supramolecular nanostructures as water purification materials.

More about the Speaker:

Prof. Ortony received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 2005, and her Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from UC Santa Barbara in 2011. Her graduate work, carried out in Songi Han's group, involved developing instrumentation based on electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy for measuring the motion of water on molecular length scales in soft matter. Following her Ph.D., Prof. Ortony conducted postdoctoral research under Samuel Stupp at Northwestern University. There, she used EPR to probe dynamics of biomaterials. Prof. Ortony joined the faculty of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 2016, where she holds the Finmeccanica Chair. Her group specializes in molecular design and dynamics characterization, engineering supramolecular nanomaterials to address health and environmental challenges. Prof. Ortony is a Bose Fellow and a recipient of the National Science Foundation Early Career Award.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Blankenship by email at [email protected].