New York: Paras Prasad, a professor at the University at Buffalo, and his team have received Pa $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to design shape-shifting nanomaterials.
Prasad, the executive director of UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, is leading an international team for the project, a release from UB said.
Each of the novel materials will be constructed from three types of components: inorganic nanoparticles, peptides that bond to these nanoparticles and special molecules called spacers, which sit between the peptides and bend in the presence of heat, light or other triggers.
When stimulated, the spacers will cause the arrangement of nanoparticles within the material to morph – a process that can lead to interesting and useful effects.
Shape-shifting materials of the kind the researchers are planning to create could have use in applications including color-changing sensors and plasmonic circuits that divert light in two directions, the release said.
"One of our goals is to con- tribute to the fundamental under- standing of how the spatial arrangement of nanoscale components in materials affects their optical, magnetic and plasmonic properties," Prasad is quoted as saying in the release.
"The high-throughput techniques we are using were pioneered in the field of bioinformatics, but also have extraordinary promise in the exploration of advanced materials."