Nano-Engineered Functional Materials for Energy Storage and Biomimetic Applications
Institute for Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
A multitude of novel building blocks, including macromolecules and nanoparticles of myriad shapes and sizes, are now available to researchers owing to recent progress in material synthesis and fabrication techniques. However, as technology moves towards smarter materials and complex multifunctional devices, the need for understanding and controlling the interactions and assembly of these mesoscale units also becomes increasingly important. Driven by this motivation, my proposed research program will aspire to employ fundamental approaches from colloid, macromolecular and soft matter sciences to understand and tailor the physical processes that govern the structure-property relationships in these material building blocks and their assemblies. These studies will provide the groundwork for the overarching theme of my research, which is to design bottom-up approaches for assembly of mesoscopic building blocks into nano-engineered materials with on-demand properties.
My graduate research with Prof. Lynden Archer at Cornell University primarily focused on developing strategies for synthesis of inorganic-organic hybrid materials with tunable properties. Specifically, I developed strategies for controlling nanoparticle dispersion in polymer hosts, and consequentially synthesizing nanoparticle-polymer composites with desired mechanical and electrochemical properties. Further, in a collaborative effort with Lipson group at Cornell University, I worked on the development of functional inks for unique direct-write applications, including 3-D printed electronic and energy storage devices.
My current research as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Matthew Tirrell at The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory involves designing and synthesizing block copolyelectrolytes that self-assemble via electrostatic interactions into polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) based micelles and hydrogels. Our investigations reveal that PEC based hydrogel morphologies span a wide range of features and are very sensitive to external stimuli, thus allowing for facile tuning of the hydrogel properties. I am also investigating the enhancements in the protein activity upon encapsulation in polyelectrolyte complexes. These studies, in collaboration with the Gardel group at The University of Chicago, are particularly important for intelligent design of PEC based micelles and hydrogels as drug carriers and tissue growth scaffolds.
My goal is to establish an independent research program that aims at designing novel bottom-up approaches for self-assembled material. Building on my previous work and harnessing my expertise in soft matter physics, I plan to pursue three area of research that are set in a similar fundamental landscape, but will serve entirely different realms of applied research. The research themes that I intend to pursue are: 1) Developing new material platforms for redox flow batteries, which employ electroactive complex fluids that are flown in a parallel flow setup during the charging/discharging process and stored in reservoir tanks otherwise, 2) Development of smart inks for additive fabrication (also known as 3-D printing) of responsive materials and integrated devices, and 3) Synthesizing surface-modified nanoparticle based hydrogels that will have superior tunability, stimuli responsiveness and tissue supporting functionalities.
Selected Publications (12 total, 2 in review):
1. R. Mangal, S. Srivastava, and L. A. Archer, Phase stability and dynamics of entangled polymer-nanoparticle composites, Nature Communications (2015), in print.
2. S. Srivastava, J. L. Schaefer, Z. Yang, Z. Tu and L. A. Archer, 25th Anniversary Article: Polymer–Particle Composites: Phase Stability and Applications in Electrochemical Energy Storage, Advanced Materials 26, 201 (2014).
3. S. Srivastava, S. Narayanan and L. A. Archer, Structure and Transport Anomalies in Soft Colloids, Physical Review Letters 110, 148302 (2013).
4. S. Srivastava, P. Agarwal and L. A. Archer, Tethered Nanoparticle–Polymer Composites: Phase Stability and Curvature, Langmuir 28, 6276 (2012).
5. S. Srivastava, J. H. Shin and L. A. Archer, Structure and Rheology of Nanoparticle–Polymer Suspensions, Soft Matter 8, 4097 (2012).
6. P. Agarwal, S. Srivastava and L. A. Archer, Thermal Jamming of a Colloidal Glass, Physical Review Letters 107, 268302 (2011)
For more information, please visit: http://tirrell.ime.uchicago.edu/samsri
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