MMAE Seminar: A Modular Approach to Materials Design

Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering welcomes Dmitri Talapin, the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, to present a lecture, titled “A Modular Approach to Materials Design,” on Wednesday, October 26, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. in Room 104 of the John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center.


Inorganic nanomaterials enabled impressive developments, both in the fundamental understanding of nucleation, growth and surface chemistry of inorganic solids, and in our ability to make functional materials for real-world applications. Nanocrystals and nanocrystal assemblies offer a versatile platform for designing two- and three-dimensional solids with tailored electronic, optical, magnetic, and catalytic properties. Unlike atomic and molecular crystals where atoms, lattice geometry, and interatomic distances are fixed entities, the arrays of nanocrystals represent solids made of “designer atoms” with continuously tunable properties. Dmitri Talapin will discuss his team’s recent developments in synthesis of inorganic nanostructures, from new semiconductor quantum dots to two-dimensional transition metal carbides, also known as MXenes. They are developing chemical approaches to electronically couple individual nanostructures into extended materials. By making surface groups photochemically active, they introduced a general approach for photoresist-free, direct optical lithography of functional inorganic nanomaterials (aka DOLFIN). The ability to directly pattern nanomaterials using a light exposure dose comparable to that of organic photoresists opens a host of new opportunities for additive nanomanufacturing. These “modular” materials are explored as active components for electronic, light-emitting, thermoelectric, and photovoltaic devices.


Dmitri Talapin is Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, James Franck Institute, and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. His research interests focus on inorganic nanomaterials, from synthetic methodology to self-assembly, to charge transport and optoelectronic devices. He was born in USSR and grew up in Belarus, received a doctorate degree from the University of Hamburg in Germany in 2002, followed by a postdoctoral work at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. From 2005–2007, he was a staff scientist at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and joined faculty of the University of Chicago in 2007. His recognitions include ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award, Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award, David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and others. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014 and serves as an associate editor for Chemical Science, which is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.