ECE Seminar Series

ISTeC Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the Computer Science Seminar Series

Title: Polyhedral Crystalline Membranes
Speaker: Monica Olvera de la Cruz
Affiliation: Northwestern University
Day: Monday, September 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Morgan Library Event Hall

Abstract: Polyhedral geometries have beguiled scientists and mathematicians for millennia. In recent times polyhedral shapes have been identified at the microscopic level in crystalline shells such as fullerenes, viral capsids and protein-based bacterial organelles. The most frequently found polyhedron in homogeneous crystalline shells is the icosahedron. We demonstrate that other geometries arise spontaneously in shells formed by more than one component. We provide computational and experimental evidence of the spontaneous buckling of closed shells of oppositely charged molecules, where electrostatics drives their co-assembly, and orders the assembly into faceted ionic structures with various crystalline domains. Our work explains the existence of various regular and irregular polyhedral shells found in nature, and provides the principles for designing nanocontainers with specific shapes and symmetries for numerous applications in material and life sciences.

Bio: Monica Olvera de La Cruz obtained her B.A. in Physics from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in 1981, and her Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge University in 1985. She is the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, and Professor of Chemistry, of Physics and Astronomy, and of Chemical & Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Her research is focused on understanding and optimizing the physical properties of complex systems including molecular electrolytes, multicomponent membranes, responsive nano-containers and functionalized nanoparticles. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.