Bionic Nanomaterials

June 9, 2014
Speaker: Michael C. McAlpine, Assistant Professor, Princeton University
Host: Ken Shepard


The development of a method for interfacing high performance devices with biology could yield breakthroughs in regenerative medicine, smart prosthetics, and human-machine interfaces. Yet, most high quality inorganic materials are two dimensional, hard and brittle, and their crystallization generally requires high temperatures for maximally efficient performance. These properties render the corresponding devices incompatible with biology. Nanotechnology provides a route for overcoming these dichotomies, by altering the mechanics of materials while revealing new effects due to size-scaling. Our group has focused on several vital areas for biointerfacing nanodevices: graphene nanosensors for ubiquitous detection, and piezoelectric nanoribbons for interfaced biomechanics. Our approach involves the following key steps: first, new nanomaterial generation; second, fundamental studies of novel properties; and finally, interfacing these nanomaterials with biology. We have also developed a future vision of bionic nanosystems in which the electronics and biology are seamlessly interwoven in 3D. The novel properties of nanomaterials coupled with “living” platforms may enable exciting avenues in fundamental studies and bioMEMS applications, including creating augmented bionic nanosystems.

Speaker Bio

Michael McAlpineMichael McAlpine began his appointment as Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University in 2008 and is affiliated with the Department of Chemistry and the Princeton Institute for the Science and technology of Materials (PRISM). He received a B.S. in Chemistry with honors from Brown University in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2006. His research has focused on bionic nanomaterials, for f fundamental and applied investigations in the biological and energy sciences. His work has been featured in major media outlets, including Time Magazine and the New York Times. He has received a number of awards, most prominently a TR35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DuPont Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award, a Graduate Student Mentoring Award, and an invite to the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering

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