Next generation nanocomposites based on 2D polymers and 2D inorganic materials

Graphene, boron nitride, dichalcogenides and other inorganic 2D layered materials (2DLM) have atomically thin structure with unique electrical, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties, and have already been extensively explored for electronics, sensing, catalysis and biomedical applications. On the other hand, in the polymer world, there is an emerging class of 2D polymers with analog structure to 2D layered materials.

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Origins of Life: Synthesis of RNA polymer from prebiotically relevant molecules

The Earth is about 4.56 billion years old and the earliest evidence of life is at approximately 3.8 billion years ago. How life originated from a planet composed of only minerals, dissolved elements, and simple organic molecules is one of the great questions of scientific inquiry. Life requires complex biomolecules, such as proteins, RNA and DNA, to maintain a cell and for reproduction.

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Bioinspired Surfaces for Ice Adhesion and Friction

Understanding the physical and chemical interactions between ice and materials is of interest in order to tune adhesion and friction on ice to meet various material demands. For example, it is important for tires to have good traction on ice and snow, and low ice adhesion coatings are needed for applications on aircraft, power lines, wind turbines, and costal structures/ships. This project aims to find specific material surface properties in nature that have been evolved to either increase or decrease ice nucleation, adhesion, and/or friction.

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Biomimetic Structures for Impact Protection

The concept of biomimicry is solving problems and creating new opportunities through understanding and applying biological models. Very often, innovation inspired by nature and careful examination of the natural world are potential ways to seek solution to real-world problems. In this project, students will conduct experimental testing and computational analysis at Prof. K.T. Tan’s Advanced Metacomposites Laboratory to investigate the amazing structure of biological models.

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Mechanochemistry of a helical metal-ligand complex

Mechanical stress is ubiquitously present in materials and biological systems, and the force-induced bond scission and materials failure have been extensively studied. In recent years, utilizing mechanical force to do targeted and constructive chemistry, largely fueled by the concept of mechanophore, i.e., stress-responsive moiety, has become a new trend.

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