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.
Catalysis is at the heart of fuel and chemicals production, and for more than a decade, Professor Mark Barteau has pursued catalyst design from nano-scale understanding of reaction mechanisms and their connection to catalyst sites. The current efforts of Barteau's group are focused on design of novel materials for selective formation of oxygen-containing products from both biomass-derived feedstocks as well as from hydrocarbons, and new approaches to the utilization of nano-catalysts in unconventional reaction environments.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
Sharon Glotzer and her colleagues are exploring how the process of nudging nanoparticles can help them change their structure - creating order from disorder. By examining matter at the nanoparticle scale, they are exploring how to create materials that can change their shape when needed, allowing for innovations such as flexible steel.