Department of Chemistry's Inaugural Caress Lecture: Molecular Descriptions of Nanoscale Synthesis and Materials

Featuring Professor Jill Millstone, Associate Editor of ACS Nano and Kavli Lecturer

Jill Millstone
Professor Jill Millstone, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh

One of the revolutionary capabilities of modern chemistry is to control molecular structure atom-by-atom. This exquisite control allows chemists to prepare an enormous array of society-shaping molecules from cancer medicines to car bumpers. As the target of synthesis gets larger, this atom-by-atom control naturally becomes more challenging. At this boundary between molecular synthesis and bulk materials design are nanomaterials. These materials are known to exhibit a wide range of properties that uniquely arise as a function of the material dimensions.  

Yet understanding, leveraging and translating the enormous promise of nanomaterials also relies on atom-by-atom synthetic control. However, unlike most molecular chemistry, the synthesis of nanomaterials not only involves chemical change, but also one or more phase changes. The interplay of these formation stages introduces terra nova in the way we envision the synthesis of matter, and in particular the parameters we consider when describing the mechanisms responsible for nanostructure formation. Here, we will focus on the interactions between metal atoms (both in particle precursors as well as at particle surfaces) and pendant ligands (ranging from monoatomic ions to macromolecules), and describe how these interactions predict final particle architectures and physical properties, including dramatic changes in both optoelectronic and magnetic behaviors. Together, these results provide mechanistic platforms for the development of nanoscale alloys and other multimetallic structures, promising for a wide variety of applications ranging from light-driven catalysis to covert signaling.

Speaker Biography: Jill E. Millstone is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh with affiliated appointments in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, she completed her Ph. D. at Northwestern University and post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2011, she has received awards including the NSF CAREER Award, the ACS Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid and Surfactant Science, the Cottrell Research Scholar Award, and the Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lectureship. She currently serves as an associate editor at ACS Nano, and as an editorial advisory board of several journals the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. Her group studies the chemical mechanisms underpinning metal nanoparticle synthesis, surface chemistry, and optoelectronic behaviors.

The Caress lecture series is designed to feature leaders in their fields who have made substantive contributions to any area of chemistry as determined by a committee of the faculty.

Reception following, 3rd floor south garden area; RSVP to [email protected]

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