Research highlights from our collaborations with experimental groups at the University of Melbourne on the self-assembly of nanomaterials.
Nature Nanotechnology article: Modular Assembly Of Superstructures From Polyphenol-Functionalized Building Blocks By J. Guo, B. Tardy, A. Christofferson, Y. Dai, J. Richardson, W. Zhu, M. Hu, Y. Ju, J. Cui, R. Dagastine, I. Yarovsky, and F. Caruso
A recent study by Prof Irene Yarovsky’s research group on the modular assembly of nanostructures, in collaboration with Prof Frank Caruso at the University of Melbourne has been published in Nature Nanotechnology.
The work demonstrated that by coating nanomaterials with a polyphenol to create LEGO-like ‘studs’, normally incompatible materials could become compatible.
This simple and modular approach has been demonstrated for 15 representative materials to form different sizes, shapes, compositions and functionalities.
The modelling work performed by Dr Andrew Christofferson and Prof Irene Yarovsky of RMIT's School of Engineering in the Manufacturing, Materials and Mechatronics discipline revealed that the adsorption of metal-polyphenol complexes on nanomaterial surfaces occurred in a stepwise fashion, with polyphenol groups extended away from the surface to facilitate further film growth.
This work holds promise for micro- and nano-scale applications including drug delivery, chemical sensing and energy storage, and has been profiled in several scientific news magazines, including Gizmodo Australia and phys.org.
Polymer Triple Helix Stereocomplex Structures Determined Through Molecular Mapping and X-Ray Diffraction
Work performed by Prof Irene Yarovsky’s research group on the molecular structure of polymers, in collaboration with Prof Greg Qiao at the University of Melbourne, has resulted in the determination of the atomic structure of stereo-regular complexes composed of double-stranded helices of linear isotactic (it-) poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) with linear and cyclic syndiotactic (st-) PMMA.
Cyclic polymers are of great interest due to their intriguing chemical and physical characteristics and potential as building blocks for advanced nanostructured materials with novel properties and functions.
While experimental methods verified the occurrence of stereocomplexation, atomistic simulations carried out by Dr George Yiapanis, Dr Andrew Christofferson, and Prof Irene Yarovsky of RMIT’s School of Engineering in the Manufacturing, Materials and Mechatronics discipline demonstrated that the cyclic st-PMMA is threaded by the it-PMMA double helix to form a unique polypseudorotaxane supramolecular assembly, and the linear st-PMMA exhibits an additional curvature not previously described, but essential to reproduce the experimental X-ray diffraction profile.
These results provide a foundation for further functionalization of the polymer side group in order to construct novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications.