Abstract: Colloidal materials, from inorganic nanoparticles to soft matter colloids, refer to materials that are synthesized or processed in a liquid environment. A key focus of colloidal material development is to control materials at the nanoscale. The nanometer morphology of the materials can significantly alter the material’s optical, electrical, and thermal properties. Furthermore, how the materials interact with themselves and the outer world depends on the nanoscale interfaces. In this talk, I will discuss strategies for tailoring the shape and interfacial interactions of colloidal materials. In the first part of my talk, I will present how we developed one-dimensional metal nanowires for the applications of transparent conductors. I will focus on synthetic routes to produce ultrathin, high-aspect ratio, and core-shell copper nanowires that ultimately form transparent conductors with bench-mark performances. In the second part of my talk, I will focus on controlling the nanoscale interactions between colloidal particles using DNA molecules. I will show how we use a total internal reflection microscope to achieve in situ, direct measurement of DNA-mediated colloidal interactions with nanometer resolution. Finally, I will give an outlook on how to use colloidal nanotechnology to develop next-generation, hybrid hierarchical materials for optical and biological applications.
Bio: Fan Cui received her B.S. degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from Zhejiang University in 2012. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. She has been working as a postdoctoral associate in the physics department at New York University since 2018. Her research interests lie at the intersection of soft matter, nanomaterials, and DNA nanotechnology. Her previous work involves inorganic nanomaterial and polymer syntheses, material self-assembly, advanced in situ precision microscopy, and functional materials engineering for electronics and energy harvesting applications.