Why Directed Assembly? The directed assembly of nanostructures is the fundamental gateway for the eventual success of nanotechnology. Therefore, our Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) is focused on discovering and developing the means to assemble nanoscale building blocks with unique properties into functional structures under well-controlled, intentionally directed conditions.
We are now able to create a wide range of inorganic, organic, and hybrid nanoscale building blocks, and our ability to assemble complex hierarchical structures is significantly improving, however, much work remains to be done. Our integrated research program combines computational design with experimentation to focus on the discovery of novel pathways to assemble functional multiscale nanostructures with junctions and interfaces between structurally, dimensionally, and compositionally different building blocks.
Understanding the interactions among diverse nanoscale constituents will enable us (i) to design directed nanoscale assemblies with specific properties and (ii) to specify the process steps and parameters required for each unique assembly. This systematic integration of computational models and design principles will form the basis for the emerging practice of nanoengineering and its application to the development of new materials, structures, and devices to benefit society. To complement these activities, we work assiduously to excite and educate a diverse cadre of students of all ages, who will become the future workforce in this area, and hand-in-hand with industry to develop and transfer nanotechnology for the benefit of society.