HMC Physics Colloquium
Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460
Solid State Nanopores as Nanoscale Detectors: Single Molecules, Fast Kinetics, and Ionic Liquids
Jan. 24, 2012
The advent of nanotechnology has created new possibilities for understanding the world and developing technologies to shape it. Nanoscale devices are useful for studying the behavior of very small numbers of molecules; because of their small size, however, nanodevices are particularly sensitive to fluctuations. One such device is the solid state nanopore, which is a promising platform for next-generation DNA sequencing strategies. I will discuss how the sensitivity of nanopores can be used to study a variety of physical processes, including the motion of DNA and other ions. I will also propose to use the solid state nanopore to study ionic liquids, a fascinating class of organic compounds that are molten at room temperature and behave as very concentrated, solvent-less electrolytes. These compounds are likely to play an important role in the energy technologies of the future, especially as catalysts for energy conversion and as battery electrolytes.