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Wim Noorduin

Wim Noorduin

Tue, Jan. 13, 2015, 3:15pm - 5:30pm
Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium
Host: Marty Semmelhack

3:15 p.m. – Public research seminar, Taylor Auditorium
4:30 p.m. – Research proposal, A81

Emergence of complexity in the solid state

Developing principles that allow for the emergence of complexity is of fundamental interest for understanding spontaneous pattern formation and self-organization in artificial and natural systems. Mastering such principles can revolutionize the way complexity is introduced in practical applications, such as the synthesis of pharmaceutical molecules or the fabrication of nano- and microscale devices. In this seminar, I will describe how the interplay between chemical reactions and crystallization can lead to spontaneous patterns in liquids. These temporary patterns can subsequently be stored permanently in the solid state. I use this approach to introduce complexity across a range of length scales with simple experimental processes. At the molecular scale, I will present a chiral purification method in which the grinding of crystals in conjunction with a racemization reaction can transform a mixture of enantiomers into a solid phase consisting of only a single handedness. These results provide a practical route to blockbuster pharmaceutical compounds and also contribute to the fundamental discussion on the origin of single chirality under prebiotic conditions. At the micrometer scale, I will show that reaction-diffusion processes can be used to make well-defined, highly complex mineralized microstructures. In this case,

simple modulations in the reaction conditions can be used to steer mineralizing structures into highly intricate shapes with a precise control over the form and spatial position. These results offer fundamental insights in the emergence of complex shapes in natural systems and outline a route to self-assembling functional microstructures such as optical devises and catalysts.