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Recap for 88th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium

August 27, 2014

88th ACS CSS UPenn 2014


The 88th American Chemical Society Colloid & Surface Science Symposium was held at University of Pennsylvania from June 22 through 25. This year, the symposium was co-chaired by three distinguished scientists from UPenn, John Crocker (Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Kathleen Stebe (Richer & Elizabeth Goodwin Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Deputy Dean for Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science), and Arjun Yodh (James M. Skinner Professor of Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter). This symposium presented 2 plenaries, 47 keynote and invited talks, and more than 600 talks and posters given by researchers from 28 countries. In this short article, I will briefly summarize a few talks that are relevant to my field.

Interesting Talks

Zachary Farrell from David Green Group at University of Virginia presented aggregative growth model for silver nanoparticles in ethanol without using reverse micelles as phase transfer agents. They started from traditional calculations for several interactions in the system, such as Van der Waals force, electrostatic force, and steric interaction. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of the final products confirmed that greater ionic strength and higher steric effect help to form homogeneous particles. It would be interesting to compare the difference with my own silver system and look into underlying chemical mechanisms.

Dr. Zhihai Li (Research Assistant Professor in Eric Borguet Group) at Temple University showed his work on single molecule conductance of molecules by using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) break junction technique. They investigated junction resistance of different molecules including linear alkanethiols which are also used as particle protective ligands in our group. A very interesting application of this technique is single-molecule sensing of acidity, since the current changes as the conformation of the molecular wire changes in different environments.

Michael Salerno from Gary Grest Group at Sandia National Lab talked about simulation of mechanical properties of gold nanoparticle membranes covered by alkanethiols. The calculation was based on another work which reported self-assembled monolayers from 5-nm gold nanoparticles. They revealed that carboxyl groups are slower to assemble than methyl groups, and that longer carbon chains pack stronger than shorter ones. These findings, if match with real experimental results, would be useful for us and any groups who need to design assembled structures from metal nanoparticles.

Besides the talks above, Yijing Liu from Zhihong Nie Group at University of Maryland, College Park presented excellent work on self-assembly of molecular and nanoparticle amphiphiles with controlled patterns. Qingjie Luo from So-Jung Park Group at UPenn showed how to control the location of 2.5-nm gold nanoparticles in polymer assemblies. Grazia Gonella from Hai-Lung Dai Group at Temple characterized large silver nanoparticles by second harmonic light scattering.

Two of my lab mates Dejun Chen and Yanyan Wang gave oral presentations on “Organic-Stabilizer-Free Synthesis of Shape-Controlled Platinum Nanocrystals by Interfacial Galvanic Exchange Reactions”, and “Activity Enhancement of Oxygen Reduction Reaction by Sub-monolayer Sulfide Adsorption on Pt Nanoparticles”, respectively.

My Work

I gave a talk entitled “Controlling Size and Homogeneity of Thiolate-protected Sub-5nm Silver Nanoparticles by Modified Digestive Ripening Process”. Controlling size and homogeneity of metal nanoparticles is one of the most important prerequisites for their potential applications. Among many methods, digestive ripening is an effective process to prepare monodispersed NPs from polydispersed ones. Gold is widely studied while silver is still relatively less explored due to its instability. In this presentation, we report our recent progress on the fine control of thiolate-protected silver nanoparticles below 5 nm. The results in this work contribute to the progress of the synthesis and thus application of monolayer-protected silver nanoparticles. I was so lucky as to have Dr. Stebe sitting among the audience. After the talk, she asked one question and said that she used to work on a similar topic years back. She was kind enough to give me some references. This was very helpful for my research.

Yangwei Liu 88th ACS CSS UPenn 2014

For more exciting projects that are currently going on in my group, please visit YuYe J. Tong Group’s webpage. If you are interested in collaboration, co-funding application or other scientific activities and need me to bridge over, feel free to contact me and I am more than happy to help.

Website for 88th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium:

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