Some materials have the unique ability to self-assemble into organized molecular patterns and structures. Materials scientist Gregory Doerk of the Electronic Nanomaterials Group at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory—takes advantage of this ability in materials called block copolymers. Using these self-assembling materials, which have chains of two or more distinct molecules linked together by chemical bonds, Doerk directs the formation of such patterns and structures at the nanoscale. The ultimate goal is to leverage these nanoscale architectures to control the properties of materials for applications including solar energy conversion and storage, catalysis, and optics.
Researcher discusses the self-assembly of materials to make diverse nanoscale patterns