Abstract: The importance of molecular structure to molecular function is a central tenet in modern chemistry, with the lock-and-key model of enzyme activation representing a classic example. Likewise, the function of inorganic nanomaterials depends on a number of structural parameters that include crystallite size and shape as well as architecture (e.g., hollow versus solid). To realize the function of such materials, these structural parameters must be precisely controlled and the Skrabalak group is expanding the synthetic toolkit to achieve such advanced nanostructures.
This colloquium will highlight the use of seed-mediated co-reduction as a route to structurally defined bi- and trimetallic nanomaterials, hierarchical materials, and intermetallic (i.e., ordered alloys) compositions. These synthetic advances, in turn, are enabling previously unimagined nanostructures to be accessed with new function for applications in chemical sensing and catalysis. Ultimately, understanding the relationship between nanostructure form and function will allow this relationship to be inverted to achieve materials by design. Still, the synthetic toolkit must exist to realize this vision and achieve desired nanomaterials on demand.
Bio: Sara Skrabalak is a professor in the department of chemistry at Indiana University. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.