Soft Matter Seminar: Revealing Nanoscale Materials Properties via Atomic Force Microscopy — From Spider Silk to Graphene

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 – 11:00am
Regents 351
Hannes C. Schniepp
Department of Applied Science, The College of William & Mary

Our work is focused on the investigation of nanomaterials with outstanding structural properties. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is ideally suited for this purpose, simultaneously being a “mechanical” technique and providing information with nanometer resolutions. Developing new AFM-based experiments we have revealed several properties and processes of nanomaterials at multiple length scales, down to the molecular realm. We use this information to develop a more systematic understanding of these materials. We are particularly interested in graphene-based polymer nanocomposites, for which we developed a novel AFM-based method to characterize the graphene–polymer interactions. Another example are silks, for which we investigate molecular self-assembly, as well as microscale stress–strain behavior of fibers.