Porous Nanostructures with Radical Potential
The progress of many technologies relies on the creation of entirely new materials with no analogues in the natural world. Ulrich B. Wiesner, Materials Science and Engineering, is working on such novel materials—in this case, advanced nanoporous materials with potential applications in the biopharmaceutical and microelectronic industries and more.
The Wiesner lab is creating and exploring advanced porous nanostructures made from plastic materials’ (block copolymers) self-assembly. Using novel, non-equilibrium thermodynamic processes, the work promotes scientific understanding of the fundamental principles of how to control and push polymer-based materials systems away from equilibrium toward the successful generation of porous asymmetric membranes, highly-ordered porous single-crystal nanostructures.
The project may offer profound impact in a range of technologically important areas. If successful, the project will provide advanced membrane materials for applications in high-resolution biopharmaceutical separations with the new nanostructures acting as a sieve. The non-equilibrium approaches may also enable the use of porous polymer molds to structure materials with high melting points, such as metals or semiconductors, into ordered porous single-crystal nanostructures of interest to the microelectronic industry.