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CBES: Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science

Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Monica Olvera de la Cruz

CBES Deputy Director, Northwestern University
Olvera de la Cruz Group

CBES Research Areas:
Magnetic Morphogenesis, Autonomous Soft Microrobots, Hierarchical Structure-Mediated Photocatalysis, Multi-Scale Synthesis of Artificial Muscles

  • Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science & Engineering
  • Professor of Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Physics & Astronomy
PhD (1985), Cambridge University

Superparamagnetic particles with diameters less than 100 nm have short switching times for the direction of superparamagnetic dipole moments. By dispersing the nanoparticles in elastic media, their aggregation, locomotion, and actuation can be controlled by external magnetic fields. In bulk, ensembles of magnetic filaments can be rapidly assembled into different configurations whose material properties depend on the field parameters. Two-dimensional membranes composed of elastically linked, superparamagnetic nanoparticles exhibit extensive and rapid shape changes in dynamic magnetic fields. In recent theoretical work, the Olvera de la Cruz group investigated soft materials under the influence of magnetic fields to explore their potential to generate bio-inspired soft matter. Under CBES, the Olvera de la Cruz group simulates the position and configuration of magnetic nanoparticles in elastically heterogeneous media, in order to induce soft matter morphogenesis that can direct locomotion, delivery, and actuation as well as elucidate the science of coupling elastic and magnetic forces over various length scales and matrix compositions. These experiments are designed in collaboration with the Stupp group.

 A basic question in active matter is whether it is possible to characterize the system by conventional macroscopic parameters such as pressure or an effective temperature, which could be related by an equation of state. The Olvera de la Cruz and Chaikin groups study such a system of colloidal particles, spinning about an axis perpendicular to a plane. Their objective is to reveal effects of the particle spinning and the ensuing hydrodynamic interactions on the equation of state. 

Key Publications

Covalent-Supramolecular Hybrid Polymers as Muscle-Inspired Anisotropic Actuators
Stacey M. Chin, Christopher V. Synatschke, Shuangping Liu, Rikkert J. Nap, Nicholas A. Sather, Qifeng Wang, Zaida Alvarez, Alexandra N. Edelbrock, Timmy Fyrner, Liam C. Palmer, Igal Szleifer, Monica Olvera de la Cruz and Samuel I. Stupp.
Nature Communications 9, 2395 (2018).

Shape-Directed Microspinners Powered by Ultrasound
Syeda Sabrina, Mykola Tasinkevych, Suzanne Ahmed, Allan M. Brooks, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Thomas E. Mallouk, and Kyle J. M. Bishop.
ACS Nano 12, 2939–2947 (2018).

Paramagnetic Filaments in a Fast Precessing Field: Planar versus Helical Conformations
Pablo Vazquez-Montejo, Joshua M. Dempster, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz.
Phys. Rev. Materials 1, 064402 (2017).

Contractile Actuation and Dynamical Gel Assembly of Paramagnetic Filaments in Fast Precessing Fields
Joshua McCellan Dempster, Pablo Vazquez-Montejo and Monica Olvera de la Cruz.
Physical Review E, 95, 052606 (2017).

Exploring the Zone of Anisotropy and Broken Symmetries in DNA-Mediated Nanoparticle Crystallization
Matthew N. O'Brien, Martin Girard, Hai-Xin Lin, Jaime A. Millan, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Byeongdu Lee, and Chad A. Mirkin.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(38):10485-10490 (2016).

CBES Publications

See all CBES publications authored by Monica Olvera de la Cruz

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