Functional nanomaterials are predicted to have an enormous impact on some of the most pressing issues of 21st century society, including next-generation health care and energy related technologies. Bottom-up approaches, using self-assembly principles, are increasingly considered to be the most appropriate routes for their synthesis. Indeed, Science magazine highlighted How far can we push chemical self-assembly? as one of the 25 biggest questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter century. Despite significant advances in recent years, it is still a major challenge to access precisely defined nano-structures in the laboratory, especially if these do not represent the global free energy minimum (i.e. are asymmetric, multifunctional, compartmentalized and/or dynamic). The biological world provides numerous outstanding examples of highly complex functional nano-scale architectures with attractive features such as defect repair, adaptability, molecular recognition and programmability. It is the objective of this ERC Starting Grant to develop and exploit the concept of (bio-)catalytic self-assembly, a bio-inspired approach for bottom-up synthesis of complex nanomaterials. We will explore three unique features of these systems (i) spatiotemporal control, (ii) catalytic amplification, either towards or away from equilibrium and the tempting vision of (iii) dynamic systems with emergent properties. In our approach we aim to encompass the entire spectrum from fundamental understanding to eventual societal benefit. Alongside the fundamental aims, we wish to put our methodologies to use, in collaboration with experts in these fields, to develop novel functional materials towards applications in next-generation biomaterials and gel-phase supramolecular (opto-) electronic materials.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/industrial biotechnology/biomaterials
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins/enzymes
- /engineering and technology/nanotechnology/nano-materials
Call for proposal
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