Seminar: Adding Function to Nano

On Oct. 18, Dotsevi Y. Sogah presented a talk on the functionalization of nanoparticles to the Johns Hopkins Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Sogah, a chemistry and chemical biology professor at Cornell University, helped invent group transfer polymerization during previous work at DuPont.

Sogah discussed his group’s research in developing nanocomposites and protein-based polymers. He said he was recently “bitten by the nano bug,“ and is now developing functionalized nanoparticles. “We didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to work on nanoparticles,“ he said. “We had made discoveries about growing polymer chains on silicate from two directions and thought we could make a difference in this area.“ His group aims to apply knowledge of polymerization chemistry to nanotechnology.

Sogah and collaborators have successfully functionalized nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes with biotin by attaching a chemical initiator to the nanoparticle’s surface. Using the streptavidin protein, the researchers have created a template for layered construction of the nanomaterials. The end result is well-dispersed and layered polymer-functionalized nanoparticles.

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