6th Forum on New Materials
Plenary Lectures


F:PL1  Plasma-based Materials Engineering and Surface Modification
PAUL K. CHU, Department of Physics and Materials Science, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

The physical, chemical, and biological nature of the surface of materials dictates the various interactions between materials and outside environment. Proper tailoring of surface characteristics is crucial to applications such as sensing as well as optoelectronic, biomedical, and industrial materials and components.  Plasma and related technologies offer the unique capabilities of changing selected surface properties while the favourable bulk characteristics of the materials can be retained. In particular, the technique of plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition (PBII&D) is non-line-of-sight and offers many advantages such as conducting energetic ion bombardment / implantation as well as deposition in the same process. It is especially suitable for biomedical implants.  In this invited talk, recent research work performed in the Plasma Laboratory of City University of Hong Kong is described. Examples include plasma-treated bio-conductive coatings, biodegradable metals and polymers, and other functional materials. Examples of optoelectronic and industrial applications will also be discussed to highlight the diversity of plasma-based materials engineering and surface modification.

F:PL2  Nanoscale Engineering – Challenges and Opportunities
P.M. AJAYAN, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA

The talk will discuss our recent efforts in engineering nanostructured materials from building blocks that range in size, dimensionality and properties. The idea of engineering nanostructures to build functional materials captures the essence of nanotechnology and the challenges and opportunities in this area will be discussed. One dimensional nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes and the emerging two-dimensional atomic layers as novel building blocks will be considered. The creation of three-dimensional architectures from nanoscale building blocks will lead to new opportunities and the challenges involved in this approach will be highlighted. The talk will focus on engineered nanomaterials as a platform for several applications that include nanocomposites, energy storage, low dimensional devices etc.

F:PL3  Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications
L. DE COLA, Institute de Science et d'Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (I.S.I.S.), Université de Strasbourg, France, and KIT, Germany

The creation of nano/microstructures based on molecular components possessing defined functionalities is a very fascinating field at the cross point of different disciplines. Our effort, in the last few years has been in controlling emission and electrical properties in confined space or in self- assembled structures. In the first part of my talk I will focus on metal complexes able to aggregate in fibers, gels and soft mechanochromic materials [1].  The use of metal complexes as building block for luminescent probes will be discussed. The emission of the compounds can be tuned by an appropriate choice of the coordinated ligands as well as of their aggregation in different structures. The formation of soft assemblies allows the tuning of the emission color, by pressure and temperature leading to a new class of materials. Also hybrid structures containing a shell of proteins will be discussed as a new approach for hybrid materials.
In the second part of the presentation microporous and mesoporous silica based nanoparticles will be discussed as potential probes for biomedical applications [2]. The particles can be decorated with different biocompatible molecules and are able to perfom drug and DNA or RNA delivery. The delivery can be probed by a kinetic analyses after the nanoparticles internalization. In particular using confocal fluorescent microscopy it is possible to follow the release of each single component as well as the positioning of the nanocontainers in real time and space. Also it will be shown how the molecules entrapped in the ordered channels can become active components [3]. The alignment of electroactive molecules inside the narrow channels of a zeolite L, resulted in the formation of molecular wires. The electrical conductivity measured can be foreseen as possible tool to address the release of the entrapped molecules or as a signaling that can be transferred to the edge of the porous material.
[1]  C. A. Strassert, L. De Cola et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2011, 50, 946. M. Mauro, L. De Cola et al. manuscript in preparation.
[2] C. A. Strassert, L. De Cola et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2009, 48, 7928-7931. R. Corradini, L. De Cola et al. submitted.
[3] L. De Cola, W.G. van der Wiel et al. Science, 2013, 341, 257.

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