Molecular Materials News
Dissertation of M.Sc. (Tech.) Antti Nykänen on 31.05.2013
M.Sc. (Tech.) Antti Nykänen will defend his thesis “Thermally sensitive block copolymer hydrogels in bulk and with decreased dimensions” on 31 May 2013. The dissertation will be held in lecture hall AS1, Otaniementie 17, Espoo. The thesis deals with the thermally sensitive macroscopic polymer gels as well as submicron sized thin film, fibres and spherical particles were studied. Their structure and behavior in water was observed by cryo-electron microscopy.
Opponent: Prof. Sergiy Minko, Clarkson University, USA
Electronic dissertation: http://otalib.aalto.fi/en/collections/e-publications/dissertations/
Dissertation of M.Sc. (Tech.) Antti Soininen on 24.05.2013
M.Sc. (Tech.) Antti Soininen will defend his thesis “Nano- and mesoscale structure control in block copolymers and dendritic supramolecules” at 12:00 noon on 24 May 2013. The dissertation will be held in lecture hall E, Otakaari 1. In the thesis, polymers and other organic compounds which spontaneously self-assemble into structures in the length scale of 1-1000 nm are studied. The results of the thesis can be utilized in, for example, the design of new nanomaterials.
Opponent: Prof. Ting Xu, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Link to electronic dissertation: http://lib.tkk.fi/Diss
Dissertation of Jaana Vapaavuori on 17.05.2013
M.Sc. (Tech.) Jaana Vapaavuori will defend the dissertation “Design of efficient photoresponsive materials through supramolecular functionalization” on 17 May 2013 in lecture hall TU1, Otaniementie 17, Espoo. The dissertation presents simple rules by which the response of the photoresponsive azobenzene-based polymers can be controlled. These materials may find future use for example in light-controllable robotics and in machines that convert the energy of light directly to the mechanical energy.
More information: http://sci.aalto.fi/en/current/events/vaitos_vapaavuori_jaana/
Dissertation of Jaakko Timonen on 26.03.2013
M.Sc. (Tech.) Jaakko Timonen will defend the dissertation “Magnetic Nanoparticles: From Synthesis Concepts to Biomimetics, Dynamic Self-Assemblies and Collective Phenomena” on 26 March at 12:00 noon. The thesis describes synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles and their utilization in a diverse group of modern materials science and technology applications. The dissertation will take place in auditorium E, Otakaari 1, Espoo at the Aalto University School of Science.
Opponent: Professor David Quéré, ESPCI ParisTech & École Polytechnique, France
Biohybrid Superlattices using Virus Particles and Synthetic Nanoparticles
Functional nanomaterials with tuneable optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties have gained a considerable attention in recent years. While a number of approaches have already been reported, biomimetics-the use of natural methods and structures as a guide and adapting them for the construction of functional hybrid materials is evolving rapidly. In this context, Mauri Kostiainen and coworkers, from Molecular Materials group have succeeded in preparing the biohybrid materials utilizing virus particles/protein cages and synthetic nanoparticles. This research demonstrates that virus or ferritin protein cages can be used to guide the assembly of RNA molecules or iron oxide nanoparticles into three-dimensional binary superlattices. Such a hybrid material involves unique combination of versatility of nanoparticles and controlled assembly properties of biological particles. The work has recently been published in leading international journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Original article: Mauri A. Kostiainen, Panu Hiekkataipale, Ari Laiho, Vincent Lemieux, Jani Seitsonen, Janne Ruokolainen & Pierpaolo Ceci., Electrostatic assembly of binary nanoparticle superlattices using protein cages. Nature Nanotechnology, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.220.
Dissertation of Hua Jin 20.11.2012
M.Sc (Tech) Hua Jin will defend the dissertation “Bio-Inspired Functional Materials” on 20.11. 2012. The thesis shows strategies how to learn from Mother Nature to make functional materials for self-cleaning, continuous self-propulsion and toughness.
The dissertation will take place in lecture hall D of Main Building of School of Science, Otakaari 1 (Espoo, Finland) at 12 o’clock. The opponent will be Prof. Ingo Burgert, from ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
Superhydrophobic Droplet Logic: Computing with Water Droplets
A recent article published by Mertaniemi et al. of Molecular Materials Research Groups in Advanced Materials has gained national and international media attention, as it shows a new concept for computing, using water droplets as bits of digital information (see the videos below).
More Details: Aalto University News
Original article: Mertaniemi H., Forchheimer R., Ikkala O., Ras R.H.A., Rebounding droplet-droplet collisions on superhydrophobic surfaces: from the phenomenon to droplet logic, Advanced Materials, ASAP (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201202980
Polyelectrolyte Brushes Grafted from Cellulose Nanocrystals in Most Read Article
Majoinen J., Walther A., McKee J. R., Kontturi E., Aseyev V., Malho J. M., Ruokolainen J., Ikkala O. “Polyelectrolyte Brushes Grafted from Cellulose Nanocrystals Using Cu-Mediated Surface-Initiated Controlled Radical Polymerization” Biomacromolecules 12, 2997-3006 (2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm200613y
Dissertation of Susanna Junnila 26.10.2012
Lic.Tech. Susanna Junnila will defend her thesis “Self-Assembled Polymer Nanostructures Controlled by Molecular Architecture and Polypeptide Conformation” on 26th of October, 2012.
The dissertation will take place in Auditorium AS1 (Otaniementie 17, Espoo) at 12 o’clock. The opponent will be Prof. Sébastien Lecommandoux from University of Bordeaux, France.
Modification of cellulose materials in most read articles
An article coauthored by Olli Ikkala, Sami Nummelin and Henna Rosilo from the Molecular Materials group was listed in the ten most read articles in Biomacromolecules for the first quartal of the year 2012.
Filpponen I., Kontturi E., Nummelin S., Rosilo H., Kolehmainen E., Ikkala O., Laine J., Generic Method for Modular Surface Modification of Cellulosic Materials in Aqueous Medium by Sequential “Click” Reaction and Adsorption, Biomacromolecules 13, pp. 736-742 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm201661k
Titanium dioxide nanotubes from nanocellulose aerogels is gaining attention
Korhonen J. T., Hiekkataipale P., Malm J., Karppinen M., Ikkala O., Ras R. H. A., Inorganic Hollow Nanotube Aerogels by Atomic Layer Deposition onto Native Nanocellulose Templates, ACS Nano 5, pp. 1967-1974 (2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nn200108s
Surfactant driven propulsion
Chemistry World featured an article on surfactant driven propulsion based on a recent publication by Jin et al..
“A small autonomous boat powered by a volatile surfactant has been developed by scientists in Finland and Israel. The surfactant modifies the surface tension of the liquid it floats on to create a surface tension gradient that propels the boat forward.”
 Jin H., Marmur A., Ikkala O., Ras R.H.A., Vapour-Driven Marangoni Propulsion: Continuous, Prolonged and Tunable Motion, Chemical Science (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C2SC20355C.
Molecular Materials researchers develop optical displays from water and air
Update 21.6.2012. The YouTube video has now reached more than 30 000 views and the news item is gaining lot’s of interest.
(from Aalto web page)
For many years, scientists have been pursuing ways to mimic the perplexing capability of the lotus leaf to repel water. Lotus leaves hate water so much that droplets effortlessly roll off the surface, keeping it clean from dirt. Now an international team of researchers led by Aalto University have come up with an entirely new concept of writing and displaying information on surfaces using simply water.
They exploit the unique way a trapped layer of air behaves on a lotus-inspired dual-structured water-repelling surface immersed under water.
To achieve the extreme water-repellency of the lotus leaf, a surface needs to be superhydrophobic: it must have microscopic surface structures that prevent water from wetting the surface completely, leaving a thin layer of air between water and the surface. When such a surface is immersed in water, a trapped air layer covers the entire surface.
The researchers lead by Dr. Robin Ras at Aalto University in Finland, University of Cambridge and Nokia Research Center Cambridge fabricated a surface with structures in two size scales: microposts that have a size of ten micrometers and tiny nanofilaments that are grown on the posts.
On such a two-level surface the air layer can exist in two different shapes (wetting states) that correspond to the two size scales. The researchers found that one can easily switch between the two states locally using a nozzle to create over- or underpressure in the water, in order to change the air layer to either state.
“The minimal energy needed to switch between the states means the system is bistable, which is the essential property of memory devices, for example”, Academy Research Fellow Dr. Robin Ras points out. However, there is a feature that makes it all the more interesting: there is a striking optical contrast between the states due to a change in the roughness of the water-air interface. “Combined with the optical effect, the surface is also a bistable reflective display.”
The switching only involves a change in the shape of the air layer − nothing happens to the solid surface itself. This is demonstrated by writing shapes on the surface underwater (making use of the contrast between the states) and taking the sample out of water: the surface emerges completely dry, and no traces of the writing remain.
The method for manipulating the air layer with the nozzle was developed by Tuukka Verho, graduate student in Aalto University. He was able to show that the reversible switching can be done with precision in a pixel-by-pixel fashion.
“This result represents the first step in making non-wettable surfaces a platform for storing or even processing information”, says Academy professor Olli Ikkala. Until now, lotus-inspired surfaces have been mainly developed for applications like self-cleaning, anti-icing or flow drag reduction. This research is a landmark example how the Nature teaches materials scientists towards functional materials.
An article entitled Reversible switching between superhydrophobic states on a hierarchically structured surface is published in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and provides more in depth information about this project.
Dr. Robin Ras
tel. +358 9 470 23169 (EET)
Aalto University School of Science, Department of Applied Physics
- Nanowerk (15.6.2012): Researchers develop optical displays from water and air
- Science Daily (14.6.2012): Optical displays from water and air
- Phys.Org (14.6.2012): Superhydrophobic surface helps researchers develop optical displays from water and air.
- Tekniikka & Talous (14.6.2012): Aalto-yliopiston johtama tutkijaryhmä kehitti vesikuvaruudun
- Science Business (14.6.2012): Display Surface Developed from Air-Water Interaction
- Science Newsline (15.6.2012): Researchers Develop Optical Displays from Water And Air
- Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/5919839/displays-might-one-day-be-made-of-just-air-and-water
- Discovery News http://news.discovery.com/tech/future-display-water-air-120620.html
- TechBlog.gr http://techblog.gr/gadgets/aalto-university-with-nokia-write-with-water-45445/
- Wired.co.uk http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-06/20/water-and-air-display
- Gizmag http://www.gizmag.com/water-air-optical-display/22977/
- PressTrust http://www.presstrust.com/node/1135014
- Science codex http://www.sciencecodex.com/researchers_develop_optical_displays_from_water_and_air-93405
- R&D Mag http://www.rdmag.com/News/2012/06/Manufacturing-Researchers-Develop-Optical-Displays-From-Water-And-Air/
- Science Blog http://scienceblog.com/55035/researchers-develop-optical-displays-from-water-and-air/
- Innovations Report http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/physik_astronomie/researchers_develop_optical_displays_water_air_197260.html
- BioPortfolio http://www.bioportfolio.com/news/article/1078867/Researchers-Develop-Optical-Displays-From-Water-And-Air.html
- Azom http://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=33282
- DailyMe http://dailyme.com/story/2012061400004469/optical-displays-from-water-and-air
- Nano Patents and Innovations http://www.nanopatentsandinnovations.blogspot.no/2012/06/writing-with-water-under-water.html
- Itespresso http://www.itespresso.de/2012/06/14/forscher-erzeugen-bildpunkte-aus-wasser-und-luft/
- Enterprisepost http://enterprisepost.com/science/physics/superhydrophobic-surface-helps-researchers-develop-optical-displays-from-water-and-air-w-video.html
- e! Science News http://esciencenews.com/sources/physorg/2012/06/14/superhydrophobic.surface.helps.researchers.develop.optical.displays.water.and.air.w.video
25.3.2012 (Updated 26.3.2012)
Cellulose aerogels in world-wide news
Talk held by Acad. Prof. Olli Ikkala at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society caught the attention of the global science media. The interesting properties of nanocellulose aerogels(1-5), such as floatation on water(6) and oil absorbency(7) were picked up by several news agencies, including BBC News.
Major ERC Funding for Academy Professor Olli Ikkala
Academy Professor Olli Ikkala has received funding of 2.3 M€ from the European Research Council (ERC) aiming to create biomimetic materials with functional and responsive characters.
Summer Student Positions
We are looking for students to work as research assistants during the summer 2012.
The experimental work can be summarized in a bachelor’s thesis or special assignment. The working language is English.
Thank you! The application period has ended.
Open Positions in MolMat Group
There are several open positions for doctoral students and post-docs in the Molecular Materials group.
Tiede Magazine on Biomimetics
Tiede magazine, the biggest Finnish popular science magazine, has published an extensive article on biomimetics. The article includes a section about the nacre mimetic composites by Andreas Walther and Olli Ikkala.
Tiede magazine homepage (in Finnish)
The original full paper in Nano Letters: “Large-Area, Lightweight and Thick Biomimetic Composites with Superior Material Properties via Fast, Economic, and Green Pathways”
Olli Ikkala Appointed Academy Professor
Olli Ikkala is one of the nine Professors who have been appointed Academy Professors for the five-year period 2012-2016. Congratulations!
“The newly appointed Academy Professors are leading-edge researchers in their own fields, both in Finland and internationally. They all have great potential to achieve major scientific breakthroughs. In their research, they will be tackling questions that are significant for society in a wider perspective.”
Robin Ras Appointed Academy Research Fellow
Robin Ras has been appointed Academy Research Fellow for the five-year period 1.9.2011-31.8.2016. Congratulations!
“Research posts as Academy Research Fellow offer researchers an opportunity to gain competence for the most demanding research posts or other expert positions after the postdoctoral research stage.”
Superhydrophobic Tracks and Knives
Aalto University has published a highlight on water droplet manipulation by digital microfluidics by Dr. Robin Ras and undergraduate student Henrikki Mertaniemi from the Molecular Materials group in collaboration with the Universities of Helsinki and Technion (Israel).
Aalto University News: “Water Drops Move on Water-Repellent Tracks like Marbles in Our Childhood Toys”
Advanced Materials: “Superhydrophobic Tracks for Low-Friction, Guided Transport of Water Droplets”
Videos of the phenomena in Youtube:
- Superhydrophobic track
- Electrostatic actuation of a water droplet in a superhydrophobic track
- Superhydrophobic knife
Cell Membrane Chemistry as a Challenge
Aalto University has published an interview with Dr. Sami Nummelin about his achievements in dendrimer chemistry.
“The membrane that surrounds all living cells, as a matter of fact the gatekeeper of all metabolism, is constantly a target for severe bombarding and cheating. Medicine might be able to help here, but only the kind based on good knowledge of the membrane structure.”
Aalto University News: “Cell Membrane Chemistry as a Challenge”
Kinetics of Cobalt Nanoparticle Synthesis
Nanowerk has published a highlight about Jaakko Timonen’s study of nanoparticle nucleation and growth, leading to accurate control of nanoparticle size.
Original full paper in Angewandte Chemie: “From Hot-Injection Synthesis to Heating-Up Synthesis of Cobalt Nanoparticles: Observation of Kinetically Controllable Nucleation”
Summer Student Positions
We are looking for students to work as research assistants during the summer 2011.
The experimental work can be summarized in a bachelor’s thesis or special assignment. The working language is English.
Thank you! The application period has ended.
Photoswitchable Nanocellulose Aerogels
Materials Views have published a highlight about Marjo Kettunen’s (née Pääkkö) nanocellulose aerogels with photoswitchable water absorption characteristics.
Original full paper in Advanced Functional Materials: “Photoswitchable Superabsorbency Based on Nanocellulose Aerogels”
Prisma Studio: Nanotechnology Documentary
Prisma Studio documentary about state-of-the-art nanotechnology features e.g. the nacre-mimetic composites from our group.
Prisma Studio (Yle Teema)
- Thu 20.1. 20.00 pm
- Sat 22.1. 17.05 pm (re-run)
- Tue 25.1. 18.30 pm (re-run)
- Wed 26.1. 23.25 pm (re-run)
Uniform Dendrimersomes from Janus Dendrimers
Chemical & Engineering News highlights Dr. Sami Nummelin’s dendrimersomes as one topic in its annual Chemical Year in Review.
Chemical Year in Review 2010: “Dendrimersomes Debut”
Original full paper in Science: “Self-Assembly of Janus Dendrimers into Uniform Dendrimersomes and Other Complex Architectures”
Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Vaisala Award
The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters has awarded prof. Janne Ruokolainen the Vaisala award for his achievements in physics research. The 15,000 EUR award was now awarded for the tenth time.
Finnish Academy of Science and Letters bulletin (in Finnish)
Aalto University bulletin (in Finnish)
Lic.Tech. Sirkku Hanski will defend her thesis “Control of Self-Assemblies and Secondary Structures in Polypeptide-Surfactant Complexes” on 13th of December, 2010.
The dissertation will take place in Auditorium F239a (Otakaari 3, Espoo) at 12 o’clock. The opponent will be Dr. Patrice Rannou from CEA/CNRS/Universite J. FOURIER-Grenoble I, France.
Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award
Dr. Andreas Walther has been awarded the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award in the “Materials” field for his achievements on biomimetic materials. The prize, worth EUR 10,000, has been awarded by an independent scientific committee of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation.
“Biomimetics: Tailor-made solutions from the world of biology for technical challenges: Dr. Andreas Walther from Aalto University in Helsinki / Finland receives the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2010 in the materials category for the development of innovative, pearlescent biomimetic materials that exhibit impressive properties in terms of their mechanical stability and flame retardance. This makes them very interesting for use in maritime, aviation and aerospace applications. A new production process enables the cost-effective manufacture of hybrid materials thanks to the self-organizing properties of the individual components.”
Nanotechnologies for Future Mobile Devices
On September 19, 2010 Science published a highlight about the book Nanotechnologies for Future Mobile Devices edited by Tapani Ryhänen, Mikko A. Uusitalo, Prof. Olli Ikkala and Asta Kärkkäinen.
Large Area Nacre-Mimetic Composites
Several highlights appear on Dr. Andreas Walther’s large-area and lightweight biomimetic composite materials. For instance in Discovery News, Technology Reviews (by MIT), Nanotimes (March-2010), Aalto University, nanowerk.com, engineersedge.com, physorg.com, MSNBC, AtoZNanotechnology, popsci.com, nanotechwire.com, nanotech-now.com, alphagalileo.org, DNAIndia and specialchem4coatings.
Read the original full paper in Nano Letters: “Large-Area, Lightweight and Thick Biomimetic Composites with Superior Material Properties via Fast, Economic, and Green Pathways”
Read the original full paper in Angewandte Chemie: “Color Tunability and Electrochemiluminescence of Silver Nanoclusters”