February 1, Michael Strano, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

strano3:00 PM in Room 205, 8 St. Mary’s Street

Refreshments served at 2:45 PM

New concepts in molecular and energy transport within carbon nanotubes: near infrared sensors, resonant ion channels, and thermopower waves

Abstract: Our laboratory has been interested in how 1D electronic materials such as carbon nanotubes can be utilized to illustrate new concepts in molecular transport and energy transfer.   In the first example, we predict and demonstrate the concept of thermopower waves for energy generation(1).  Coupling an exothermic chemical reaction with a thermally conductive CNT creates a self-propagating reactive wave driven along its length. We realize such waves in MWNT and show that they produce concomitant electrical pulses of high specific power >7 kW/kg.  Such waves of high power density may find uses as unique energy sources.  In the second system, we fabricate and study SWNT ion channels for the first time(2) and show that the longest, highest aspect ratio, and smallest diameter synthetic nanopore examined to date, a 500 μm SWNT, demonstrates oscillations in electro-osmotic current at specific ranges of electric field, that are the signatures of coherence resonance, yielding self-generated rhythmic and frequency locked transport. The observed oscillations in the current occur due to a coupling between stochastic pore blocking and a diffusion limitation that develops at the pore mouth during proton transport.  Lastly, our laboratory has been interested in how semiconducting single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) can be modified such that their fluorescent emission is modulated in response to specific molecules, hence creating a new class of sensor (3).  Such sensors have important advantages, including enhanced optical penetration of tissues in the near infrared, reduced auto-fluorescence, infinite resistance to photobleaching and most recently, single molecule analyte sensitivity.  This presentation will review our recent efforts in this space including new platforms for label free protein detection, nitric oxide, H2O2 and the interfacing of sensor arrays to living cells.


Biography: Professor Michael S. Strano is currently the Charles and Hilda Roddey Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He received is B.S from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware both in Chemical Engineering.  He was a post doctoral research fellow at Rice University in the departments of Chemistry and Physics under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley.  From 2003 to 2007, Michael was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before moving to MIT.  His research focuses on biomolecule/nanoparticle interactions and the surface chemistry of low dimensional systems, nano-electronics, nanoparticle separations, and applications of vibrational spectroscopy to nanotechnology.  Michael is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including a 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2006 Beckman Young Investigator Award, the 2006 Coblentz Award for Molecular Spectroscopy, the Unilever Award from the American Chemical Society in 2007 for excellence in colloidal science, and the 2008 Young Investigator Award from the Materials Research Society, the 2008 Allen P. Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and recently selected as a member of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10.


Faculty Host: Ramesh Jasti

Student Host: Alket Mertiri