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Luijten E.,Northwestern University | Granick S.,Stanford University | Granick S.,Urbana University | Granick S.,Center for Soft and Living Matter
Annual Review of Physical Chemistry | Year: 2015

Burgeoning interest in supracolloidal assembly has reached the point at which the field can seek so-called intelligent design rather than solely rely on evolution. Emphasizing Janus and triblock particles, this review presents a progress report on formulating design rules for the assembly of interesting structures. We discuss how to design building blocks, bearing in mind that patchy particles embody not just geometric shape but also chemical shape, that chemical shape determines particle-particle interactions, and that the assembly process can be designed to proceed in hierarchical stages. Remarks are included about the potential of kinetic and nonequilibrium control, as well as the potential for the augmented use of soft building blocks. Whereas the reverse design problem, in which arbitrarily selected structures can be designed from the bottom up, still stands as a grand challenge, the field has reached the point of understanding necessary, although not always sufficient, conditions. © 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Mahato P.,Kyushu University | Yanai N.,Kyushu University | Yanai N.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Sindoro M.,Urbana University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2016

Photon upconversion (UC) based on triplet-triplet annihilation (TTA) has the potential to enhance significantly photovoltaic and photocatalytic efficiencies by harnessing sub-bandgap photons, but the progress of this field is held back by the chemistry problem of how to preorganize multiple chromophores for efficient UC under weak solar irradiance. Recently, the first maximization of UC quantum yield at solar irradiance was achieved using fast triplet energy migration (TEM) in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with ordered acceptor arrays, but at the same time, a trade-off between fast TEM and high fluorescence efficiency was also found. Here, we provide a solution for this trade-off issue by developing a new strategy, triplet energy migration, annihilation and upconverted singlet energy collection (TEM-UPCON). The porous structure of acceptor-based MOF crystals allows triplet donor molecules to be accommodated without aggregation. The surface of donor-doped MOF nanocrystals is modified with highly fluorescent energy collectors through coordination bond formation. Thanks to the higher fluorescence quantum yield of surface-bound collectors than parent MOFs, the implementation of the energy collector greatly improves the total UC quantum yield. The UC quantum yield maximization behavior at ultralow excitation intensity was retained because the TTA events take place only in the MOF acceptors. The TEM-UPCON concept may be generalized to collectors with various functions and would lead to quantitative harvesting of upconverted energy, which is difficult to achieve in common molecular diffusion-based systems. © 2016 American Chemical Society.

Grzybowski B.A.,Center for Soft and Living Matter | Huck W.T.S.,Radboud University Nijmegen
Nature Nanotechnology | Year: 2016

For some decades now, nanotechnology has been touted as the 'next big thing' with potential impact comparable to the steam, electricity or Internet revolutions-but has it lived up to these expectations? While advances in top-down nanolithography, now reaching 10-nm resolution, have resulted in devices that are rapidly approaching mass production, attempts to produce nanoscale devices using bottom-up approaches have met with only limited success. We have been inundated with nanoparticles of almost any shape, material and composition, but their societal impact has been far from revolutionary, with growing concerns over their toxicity. Despite nebulous hopes that making hierarchical nanomaterials will lead to new, emergent properties, no breakthrough applications seem imminent. In this Perspective, we argue that the time is ripe to look beyond individual nano-objects and their static assemblies, and instead focus on systems comprising different types of 'nanoparts' interacting and/or communicating with one another to perform desired functions. Such systems are interesting for a variety of reasons: they can act autonomously without external electrical or optical connections, can be dynamic and reconfigurable, and can act as 'nanomachines' by directing the flow of mass, energy or information. In thinking how this systems nanoscience approach could be implemented to design useful-as opposed to toy-model-nanosystems, our choice of applications and our nanoengineering should be inspired by living matter.

Emami F.S.,Northwestern University | Vahid A.,Northwestern University | Wylie E.K.,Northwestern University | Szymkuc S.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 4 more authors.
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2015

A thermodynamically guided calculation of free energies of substrate and product molecules allows for the estimation of the yields of organic reactions. The non-ideality of the system and the solvent effects are taken into account through the activity coefficients calculated at the molecular level by perturbed-chain statistical associating fluid theory (PC-SAFT). The model is iteratively trained using a diverse set of reactions with yields that have been reported previously. This trained model can then estimate a priori the yields of reactions not included in the training set with an accuracy of ca. ±15 %. This ability has the potential to translate into significant economic savings through the selection and then execution of only those reactions that can proceed in good yields. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Chen K.,Urbana University | Wang B.,Urbana University | Wang B.,Stanford University | Granick S.,Urbana University | Granick S.,Center for Soft and Living Matter
Nature Materials | Year: 2015

In contrast to Brownian transport, the active motility of microbes, cells, animals and even humans often follows another random process known as truncated Lévy walk. These stochastic motions are characterized by clustered small steps and intermittent longer jumps that often extend towards the size of the entire system. As there are repeated suggestions, although disagreement, that Lévy walks have functional advantages over Brownian motion in random searching and transport kinetics, their intentional engineering into active materials could be useful. Here, we show experimentally in the classic active matter system of intracellular trafficking that Brownian-like steps self-organize into truncated Lévy walks through an apparent time-independent positive feedback such that directional persistence increases with the distance travelled persistently. A molecular model that allows the maximum output of the active propelling forces to fluctuate slowly fits the experiments quantitatively. Our findings offer design principles for programming efficient transport in active materials. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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