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ECE Seminar- EE290: Creating Optical Nanomaterials Using Soft Matter Building Blocks: A Data-Driven Approach

Speaker Name: 
Stacy Copp
Speaker Title: 
Hoffman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow and UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow
Speaker Organization: 
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Start Time: 
Monday, November 19, 2018 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, November 19, 2018 - 11:40am
Marco Rolandi

Abstract: Many living organisms are masters of light control, from photosynthetic plants and algae to bioluminescent critters.  In contrast to human technologies, biology achieves dynamic control of light by building photonic systems out of soft matter, with individual components programmed for bottom-up assembly of remarkably complex structures. Inspired by this paradigm, we are studying how polymers can be used to assemble optical nanomaterials with unique properties controlled by their soft matter building blocks.  First, I will discuss how we are using tools from machine learning to design fluorescent clusters of silver atoms stabilized by the biopolymer DNA. DNA sequence selects for the fluorescence color of these silver clusters, but exactly how sequence tunes color has remained mysterious. We are combining high throughput experiments with data mining and machine learning to understand the sequence-color connection and to design new silver clusters for applications in chemical sensing and bioimaging.  Next, I will discuss photonic materials templated by synthetic polymers. Certain block copolymer amphiphiles with low molecular weights are surrogates for lipids, forming biomimetic membranes that are being explored for applications ranging from drug delivery to photonics. I will discuss our ongoing work using these lipid-like polymers to organize and control interactions among optically active nanoparticles and among chromophores.

Bio: Stacy Copp is a Hoffman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow and UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she works with Gabriel Montano and Atul Parikh. Stacy's research focuses on novel photonic materials scaffolded by both biological and synthetic polymers. Much of her work incorporates tools from machine learning and data mining to “learn” the underlying scientific principles that govern self-assembly and to intelligently design new materials. Stacy earned her BS in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2011 and her PhD in Physics from UC Santa Barbara in 2016, where she worked in the group of Elisabeth Gwinn.