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CBES: Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science

Research Highlights

Micromechanical Devices Using DNA Hybridization

We demonstrate that DNA and RNA can be used as a fuel and for energy storage in nano/microscale machines.

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An accordion device can be pulled with laser tweezers unzipping the complementary DNA strands  at the vertex hinges. On release the stored energy can move attached colloids at many μm/s.
Inversion of the surface topography of the pNIPAAm gel upon heating

Flexing Muscles: Hybrid Materials with Actuatable, Hierarchical Topography for Multifunctional Surface Design

Harnessing the emergence of unique transient morphologies could have potential in the design of multifunctional, actuatable materials for switchable adhesion, antifouling, cell manipulation, and liquid and particle transport surface.

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Using Magnetic Fields to Control Elastic Sheets

Rotating magnetic fields can drive 2D elastic sheets, made of magnetic particles, to expand, contract, or twist.

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Sheets in a wide-rotating magnetic field.
Patterned disks of platinum exhibit different rotational motions in H2O2 solutions.

Shape-Directed Micromotors via Catalytic Self-Electrophoresis

We showed how particle shape alone can induced and direct the motions of catalytic micromotors via chemically fueled electrokinetic flows.

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Transitional Bonding in Colloidal Systems

The discovery of a new type of bonding in colloidal systems where nanoparticles diffuse and hold together colloidal crystals in the same way electrons do in metallic bonding.

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Snapshots from the MD simulation depicting “ionic” bonding behavior