MSE Seminar - Professor Erik Luijten - Northwestern
Title: New Paradigms in Electromagnetically Driven Self-Assembly
Hosts: Zhiqun Lin and Seung Soon Jang
Suspensions of colloidal particles have emerged as prototypical systems for the investigation of self-assembly phenomena. Here I demonstrate how induced many-body interactions, realized through coatings and controlled by electrical and magnetic fields, result in unexpected and until now unexplored aggregation behavior. These observations (some published  and some unpublished) reveal striking connections between colloidal self-assembly and collective dynamics, and between dynamic behavior and classical thermodynamics. Ultimately, these findings can lead to new control mechanisms for dynamic self-assembly. Moreover, this research highlights the merits of research in which experiments and computer simulations are closely intertwined.  J. Yan et al., Linking synchronization to self-assembly using magnetic Janus colloids. Nature 491, 578-581 (2012).
Erik Luijten received his degrees in theoretical physics from Utrecht University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. After postdoctoral positions with Prof. Kurt Binder (Mainz, Germany) and Prof. Michael Fisher (University of Maryland), he joined the faculty at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001. Since 2009 he has been at Northwestern University, with a joint position in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the Department of Applied Mathematics. He specializes in computer simulations of soft materials, with an emphasis on electrostatically driven self-assembly, colloidal aggregation, polymeric materials, and collective phenomena. Much of his work is performed in close collaboration with experimental research groups. Prof. Luijten has been the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, a Xerox Award for faculty research, and he Helmholtz Award of the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam. In 2013 he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society.