Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Seminar: Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Thursday, December 6, 2018

12:00pm - 1:00pm

School of Engineering

barus, 190

Dr. Katherine R. Phillips, postdoctoral researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present a talk: “Chemical Control of Colloidal Crystallization: From Rich Colors to Sensing to Catalysis.”

Abstract: Controlled nano to microscale structuration enables one to tailor a material’s optical, wetting, mechanical, and chemical properties. Structuration on this scale can be formed from spherical colloidal building blocks, which can assemble into crystals that template the ordered, porous structure known as an inverse opal. The porosity and periodicity provide control over both light (photonic effects) and fluid flow (wetting effects), but high quality structures are necessary to maintain consistent properties. Furthermore, controlling the composition allows chemical functionality to be added to the ordered, porous inverse opal structure. This talk explores how molecular and nanoparticle precursors can be used to control colloidal assembly and therefore alter the optical, wetting, sensing, and catalytic properties of inverse opals. Ultimately, this approach can be used to assemble inverse opals with complex functionality.

Bio: Katherine Phillips studied chemistry and math as an undergraduate at Brown University before starting her PhD under Joanna Aizenberg in Harvard’s chemistry department. In the Aizenberg lab, she developed new self-assembly processes for colloidal templating of materials used for optical, wettability, sensing, and catalysis studies. She is now a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT working under Prof. Alan Hatton, where she is developing materials for continuous capture of carbon dioxide.