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Chinedum OsujiEduardo D. Glandt Presidential ProfessorDepartment ChairDepartment of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
Controlling structure and thereby manipulating the properties of matter is a central concern for the chemical and physical sciences. This talk examines approaches for directed self-assembly of nanostructured systems to create useful materials, including single crystals and materials with bespoke textures. Our focus is on self-assembly of block copolymers and liquid crystals. The ability to precisely control their chemical functionality combined with the readily tunable characteristic length scales (~1-100 nm) of their self-assembled mesophases position these systems as a versatile and attractive class of materials for several applications, including membranes for size and chemo-selective transport, to optics, and lithography. We describe recent developments in nanostructured membranes fabricated from self-assembled materials that are compelling as they circumvent the limitations of pathway tortuosity and size-dispersity of transport-regulating features found in conventional membranes. We focus attention on the ability to fabricate such membranes using scalable processes that can be adapted to industrial settings. The performance of these emerging membranes in lab-scale testing suggests that they may be viable in several applications where tight regulation of the transport of molecular and ionic species is desired.