Hierarchical engineering of soft materials:
From multi-phase coexistence to synthetic nucleosomes

Principal Investigators
Howard A. Stone (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Mikko Haataja (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Andrej Košmrlj  (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)

Seed start and end dates: March 1, 2017 - February 28, 2019

The next-generation materials will involve integration of self-assembly at multiple length scales and the ability to use experiments and theory, including continuum mechanics, physical chemistry, statistical physics, mesoscale modeling approaches and molecular-scale simulations, to understand and design the requisite structure-function relationships. For example, in the biological sciences it has been recognized recently that microphase separation can occur in an organized manner to allow multiphase coexistence, even in the absence of membranes. Furthermore, there are examples in the recent literature highlighting novel physics and structures made possible by manipulating the chemistry, swelling, wrinkling, and folding of thin soft materials. Also, this Seed has recently discovered novel composite structures formed by the wrapping and packing of spherical particles by long flexible fibers. Haataja, Košmrlj, and Stone proposed a Seed project highlighting hierarchical soft components built around strengths in soft materials science and engineering in the Princeton community, which has the potential to initiate a new, unique, and forward-looking IRG. Indeed, this activity led directly to preparation of a new IRG.

Publications (2019)

  1. S. Mao, D. Kuldinow, M. P. Haataja, A. Košmrlj, “Phase behavior and morphology of multicomponent liquid mixtures,” Soft Matter 15, 1297 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02045K
  2. J. Yan, C. Fei, S. Mao, A. Moreau, N. S. Wingreen, A. Košmrlj, H. A. Stone, B. L. Bassler, “Mechanical instability and interfacial energy drive biofilm morphogenesis,” eLife 8, 43920 (2019). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.43920
  3. N. O. Taylor, M.-T. Wei, H. A. Stone and C. P. Brangwynne, “Quantifying dynamics in phase-separated condensates using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching,” Biophysical Journal, 117, 1285-1300 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.08.030
  4. M. Slutzky, H. A. Stone, J. K. Nunes, “A quantitative study of the effect of flow on the photopolymerization of fibers,” Soft Matter 15, 9553-9564 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/c9sm01485c.

2019:  a) Phase behavior of multi-component liquid mixtures, b) Electrostatically-driven spontaneous fiber wrapping (PDF)
2018:  SuperSeed-8: Engineering of Structured Soft Materials (PDF)