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MSE Seminar Series: Andrea Tao
Friday, December 4, 2009
1:00 p.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
For More Information:
Joanne Kagle
(301) 405-5240

Biophotonics: New Paradigms in Optical Materials

Presented by Andrea R. Tao
Assistant Professor
Department of NanoEngineering
University of California–San Diego

The field of biophotonics studies the interaction of light with biological materials. In the first part of this talk, I will demonstrate the utility of free-standing, shape-controlled colloidal metal nanostructures that can be wholly integrated into fluids and biological environments. Metal nanostructures exhibit unique electromagnetic field enhancements near their surfaces, and we present a “design-by-synthesis” approach for constructing materials that exhibit specific spectroscopic properties, including the hierarchical assembly of nanocrystals and nanowires into large-scale arrays for the fabrication of tunable plasmonic materials. We also demonstrate the utility of these materials for high-sensitivity chemical detection and identification. The ultimate goal for this research is an understanding of the bio/nano interface to establish general design principles for “smart” nanomaterials that are bio-compatible, capable of biorecognition, and can navigate complex intracellular pathways.

In the second part of this talk, I will discuss the role of protein self-assembly in squid iridophores. Iridophores are specialized light-reflecting cells found in cephalopod (squid, octopus, cuttlefish) skin tissue that display structural color. In the context of these cells, I will show how Nature engineers hierarchically organized, responsive materials from which we can learn fundamental design principles.

About the Speaker
Andrea R. Tao is currently an assistant professor at UC San Diego in the Department of NanoEngineering. She earned an A.B. in Chemistry & Physics from Harvard University in 2002 and a doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007, where she conducted her dissertation research on colloidal synthesis and self-assembly. Prior to San Diego, she was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the interdisciplinary program of Biomolecular Science & Engineering. She is the 2008 recipient of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Prize for Young Chemists.

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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