With our long history in heterogeneous catalysis and surface science, Michigan chemical engineers have been using nanotechnology well before it became a buzzword. New tools allow even better control of nanoparticle growth, shape and properties – and better characterization of the final products. We are developing nanotubes, nanoprobes, nanomaterials, nanocatalysts and nanostructures for a variety of applications in energy conversion, medicine and electronics, for example. Our faculty and students apply both state-of-the-art experimental techniques and sophisticated computational approaches.
Professor Sharon Glotzer and her research group use computer simulation to discover the fundamental principles of how nanoscale building blocks can self-assemble and how to guide that process to engineer new materials. Her team develops the theory and molecular simulation tools to understand self-assembling, self-sensing and self-regulating materials.
Professor Goldsmith and his research team use first-principles computational modeling and data analytics to understand various nanomaterials and nanoscale phenomena for natural gas conversion and sustainable applications. Some topics of interest include: supported nanoparticle and nanocluster disintegration and Ostwald ripening under reaction conditions; understanding nanoparticle growth, size, and shape effects; crystal structure and materials property prediction; using machine learning to help screen nanomaterials and find interpretative models.
The Gong research group studies the surface chemistry and photophysics response of semiconducting nanomaterials. We interface nanomaterials with other emerging solution-processed materials, including perovskites, polymers, and organic semiconductors.We further transform the material innovation into bioelectronics devices for health monitoring, soft robotics, artificial intelligence, and beyond.
Professor Kamcev and his research group develop new microporous nano materials (porous aromatic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, metal-organic frameworks) for water treatment and energy storage/generation applications.
Professor Jinsang Kim and his research group develop methods for the self-organization of polymers and nano-semiconductors for electronics and metamaterials.
Professor Nicholas Kotov and his research group study the self-organization of nanoparticles into more complex structures. These structures have promising applications in electronic devices and medicine, among other areas.
Professor Mark Kushner and his group develop computer-aided design software for etching nanostructures on surfaces using low temperatures plasmas. This software is used to improve the processing of microelectronics.
Professor Joerg Lahann’s research interest is focused on the development of active, multi-functional bio-interfaces, which are applicable to a range of biomedical applications. His group’s recent advances in the molecular design of active nanostructures include the introduction of reactive coatings, reversibly switching surfaces, and anisotropic nanoparticles that support the vision of smart interfaces and act as templates in time-controlled surface interactions.
Professor Andrej Lenert and his team probe fundamental transport at the nanoscale by integrating optical and micro-fabricated platforms with environmental and thermal control
Professor Suljo Linic’s lab members are currently working on a number of projects that aim to address various issues in the fields of energy and environment, functional nanomaterials, industrially-important reactions and fundamental heterogeneous catalysis.
Arming nano-electronics with mobility extends artificial systems into traditionally inaccessible environments. Quantum-confined nanoparticles (0D), carbon nanotubes (1D), graphene (2D) and other crystalline materials with well-defined lattice structures can be incorporated into polymer microparticles (i.e., colloidal electronics), granting them unique electronic functions. The Liu laboratory seeks to advance device capabilities for individual colloidal electronic particles, and explores higher-order assemblies of these building-blocks into hierarchical colloidal electronic matter. This research program, positioned at the intersection between materials design, chemical catalysis, and electronic device fabrication, aims to address one central challenge: Can we build materials the way nature builds us?
Professor Sunitha Nagrath research focus is the development of advanced MEMS tools for understanding cell trafficking in cancer through isolation, characterization and study of circulating cell in peripheral blood of cancer patients. These investigations will progress to the design and development of smart chips that use microfluidics and nanotechnology to make an impact in medicine and life sciences.
Professor Nikolla and her group focus on the development of synthesis methods for controlling the nanostructure of catalytic materials in order to achieve utmost efficiency of catalytic processes for energy conversion and storage.
Professor Johannes Schwank and his research group develop new methods for synthesizing oxide nanotubes and nano-scale core-shell structures that harvest and utilize sunlight to produce hydrogen from water, convert carbon dioxide into fuels, and eliminate environmental pollutants.
Professor Timothy Scott and his group are exploring ways to use free radicals to control material structures on the nanoscale.
Professor Shahani’s focus is on the processing-structure paradigm of materials science, with attention to the solidification dynamics of periodic and aperiodic crystals in metals and their alloys. His efforts have helped to reveal the interplay between small-scale patterns and the larger-scale macrostructures that will impact the properties of materials.
Professor Lonnie Shea’s laboratory is developing nanoparticles for reprogramming immune cells for use in precision immunotherapies, with applications to autoimmune disease, allergies, transplant rejection and inflammation.
Professor Max Shtein and his group are developing nanoprobes for discovering the energy landscape of surfaces. The technique could image the structures of biological cells or reveal ways to improve the efficiencies of solar cells and thermoelectric devices. The group is also studying how to guide the self-assembly of nanocrystals into solar cells.
Professor Peter Tessier and his group aim to develop next generation technologies for designing, discovering, engineering, characterizing, formulating and delivering monoclonal antibodies and other biologics for molecular imaging, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Their research uses nanotechnology-based methods for i) discovering new antibodies and other therapeutic proteins, ii) identifying rare protein variants with drug-like properties for therapeutic applications, and iii) selecting formulation conditions that promote high protein stability and resistance to aggregation.
Professor Anish Tuteja and his group are exploring methods to direct the self-assembly of nanoparticles into particular structures comprised of multiple types of polymer. By controlling the distribution of nanoparticles in the polymer, the team can tailor the electric, optical, and magnetic properties of the composite material.
Professor Angela Violi’s lab studies the formation and fate of nanoparticles in the environment through computer simulations. The team’s work encompasses biological risk assessment and remediation of nanoparticles as well as the combustion of fuels and the production of nanoparticles in such systems.
Professor Fei Wen ‘s group produces virus-like nanoparticles for improved vaccines and drug delivery strategies.