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Colloidal Self-Assembly of Nanoparticles and Functional Polymers

For the past few years, my group has made several important discoveries towards understanding how nanoparticles self-assemble with amphiphilic polymers. Based on these studies, we developed new hybrid materials with interesting optical or magnetic properties (e.g., “superparamagnetic polymersomes”, “nanoparticle microcapsules”, “multicomponent spiky metal nanoshells”). Furthermore, we have incorporated functional polymers such as conjugated polymers and DNA into amphiphilic structures, and showed that their properties can be drastically modified through self-assembly (e.g., tunable photoluminescent properties of conjugated polymers, and enhanced binding properties of DNA). These results demonstrate that self-assembly is a powerful tool not only for making complex nanoscale architectures but also for manipulating materials properties.

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