(6gd) Controlling Organization and Effects of Nanoparticles on Polymer-Nanoparticle Composites

Emamy, H., Wesleyan University
Starr, F. W., Wesleyan University
Kumar, S. K., Columbia University
Gang, O., Columbia University

Research Interests:

Synthesizing materials by design with desired properties is one of the challenges in materials science. I use molecular simulations as a tool to study the dynamics and structure of nanocomposite materials in the length and time scales that can be challenging to achieve by using experimental methods. My research focuses on two different areas: (1) self-assembly of materials at nano-scale (e.g self-assembly of nanomaterials functionalized with DNA), and (2) the effects of confinement on polymer dynamics (e.g polymer-nanoparticle composite materials and polymer thin films).

Self-assembly has offered an effective pathway to achieve the rational design of materials. One of my main research interests is to control and manipulate the organization of nanoparticles in nanocomposite materials and study how they affect the composites’ properties (e.g. mechanical and optical). My research focuses on the study of the thermodynamic pathways that leads to self-assembly of nanomaterials and how the range and strength of interactions between nanoparticles, and shape of nanoparticles can affect the final self-assembled structures. Specifically, I’m interested in colloidal particles functionalized with DNA strands such as DNA origami, DNA-functionalized nanoparticles and Janus particles.

Polymer dynamics in confinement can be drastically different than dynamics of bulk polymers (e.g. the glass transition temperature and viscoelasitcity). I use molecular dynamic simulations to study the dynamics of polymer chains in different confinement geometries to understand the origins of these changes in the polymeric material properties. Specifically, I’m interested in the thin films and polymer-nanoparticle composites.

Research Experience

I have a diverse research experience. During my research career, I have used different theoretical and computational methods such as mean-field theory, molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo, and multi-particle collision dynamics to study complex systems. In most of the systems that I have studied (self-assembly of colloidal materials, properties of polymer in confinement, and freeze-casting) I have worked closely with experimental scientists. During my PhD (under supervision of Prof. Francis Starr) and postdoctoral research (under supervision of Prof. Sanat Kumar), I work and discuss closely with my experimental collaborators on daily bases. This experience has helped me to acquire necessary skills to communicate and solve scientific problems with experimentalist efficiently.

I also have experimental experience. During my work as a MS.c student, I worked on synthesizing of graphene nanoribbons from carbon nanotubes that was used in cell imaging and photothermal cancer therapy.

Below is a selective of my recent publications.

  1. Hamed Emamy, Sanat K. Kumar, and Francis W. Starr. “Diminishing Interfacial Effects with Decreasing Nanoparticle Size in Polymer-Nanoparticle Composites.” Physical review letters 121, no. 20 (2018): 207801.

  2. Hamed Emamy, Oleg Gang, and Francis W. Starr. “The Stability of a Nanoparticle Diamond Lattice Linked by DNA.” Nanomaterials 9, no. 5 (2019): 661.

  3. Wenyan Liu, Miho Tagawa, Huolin L. Xin, Tong Wang, Hamed Emamy, Huilin Li, Kevin G. Yager, Francis W. Starr, Alexei V. Tkachenko, and Oleg Gang. “Diamond family of nanoparticle superlattices.” Science 351, no. 6273 (2016): 582-586.

Teaching Interests:

During my PhD work at Wesleyan University, I had a privilege to teach introductory physics lab to students. During these lab sections I thought the basic physical concepts theoretically on the chalk board and then help the students trough the experiments. Interacting with students one by one helped me to be familiar with different approaches students have to the problems. I also mentored many newly joined member of the group. I helped them to be familiar with the necessary techniques to carryout their experiments. Specifically, I supervised two undergraduates with their research projects. During this time, I discovered my passion for mentoring students. Helping students to grow as a scientist and see the results of mentoring as a published work has been so fulfilling for me. Having caring mentors, I understand the importance of good education and do my best to educate the new generation of scientists. I have a wide range of teaching interests, from fundamental courses such as statistical mechanics to specialized courses such as advanced methods in molecular simulations.


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