This CAREER award to Professor Mary Beth Williams of the Pennsylvania State University, supported by the Analytical and Surface Chemistry Program, focuses on the selective patterning of surfaces with nanoparticles by controlled transport and deposition. At the smallest scales, functionalized magnetic nanoparticles and semiconductor nanocrystals will be prepared and attached to surfaces using ligand exchange strategies. The particles will have synthetically adjustable magnetic and luminescent properties. The magnetic nanoparticles will be used to produce ultrahigh density magnetic arrays and enable the interrogation of the magnetic properties of individual nanoparticles via magnetic force microscopy imaging. The transport of freely diffusing, chemically functional magnetic nanoparticles in solution will be controlled by applied magnetic field gradients, making possible the directed transport of nanoparticles for the delivery of recovery of target analytes. Also, nanoparticles will be selectively attached to biomolecular motor proteins that, upon hydrolysis of ATP and alignment with magnetic field gradients, will further enable selective and rapid particle motion. The long-term applications include drug delivery, environmental remediation, and electronic devices. The range of applications is broadened with the independent control of particle magnetism and particle surface chemistry.
Outreach activities include mentoring at the undergraduate and high school level. The laboratory research activities are wide-ranging, encompassing a range of laboratory techniques and including oral and written presentations and attendance at meetings. For the young scientist, a gap in the accessible scientific literature is noted; as yet, there is only a single publication on nanoparticles in the Journal of Chemical Education. Thus, a subproject on nanoparticle synthesis and characterization will be undertaken, leading to a literature appropriate for the young science student.