These awards by the Macromolecular/Supramolecular/Nanochemistry Program in the Division of Chemistry to Carnegie Mellon University (Lead), University of Pittsburgh (Non-lead) and Duke University (Non-lead) aim to develop new strategies to create self-assembling chemical structures that may, in the long term, perform information processing and chemical transformations associated with computation, sensing, and energy conversion. In addition, these studies would enable the invention of new types of artificial machines that would function on the same scale as biological machinery. At the present time, many of the key transformations and functionalities of interest are either very difficult to create or entirely inaccessible. The team will develop new strategies to teach beginning graduate courses that leverage scientific expertise across multiple institutions - thus enriching the excitement for- and content of- introductory courses, while lowering the cost per institution. The team is also strongly engaged in outreach to K-12 students and educators, are actively involved in developing teaching and learning kits, and modules for K-12 students and teachers such as "DNAZone" and "Classroom Kit Lending Library".

Technical Abstract

Artificial, supramolecular systems that perform complex chemical transformations with high efficiency are an important target of modern chemistry, with potential long-term applications in bioelectronics and biomedicine. This collaborative research program uses DNA and synthetic nucleic acids to program the self-assembly of structures in which electroactive groups based on metal ions and nanoparticles are organized with nanometer resolution. The aim of the research is to determine rules for the construction of structures in which it is possible to separate charge on the tens of nanometers length scale. The students working on the project would gain expertise in synthesis, characterization, and theory and learn collaborative skills. The investigators will develop and use an internet-assisted strategy for teaching small-to-medium-size introductory courses for graduate students on topics at boundaries among scientific disciplines at different institutions involved in this collaborative research. The team will be engaged in creating tools that K-12 educators can use to teach science concepts using examples from modern research.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Aleksandr Simonian
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Duke University
United States
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