Biomimetic metabolite self-assembly for functional materials and novel applications
Professor Rusen Yang
School of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
Date & Time
Friday, 23 June 2023
Room 7-34, Haking Wong Building, HKU
Supramolecular assembly of metabolites produces novel materials with hierarchical structures, good biological properties, and unique physical properties. They are an essential biomimetic material, and self-assembly structures with excellent piezoelectric properties enable the study of the electromechanical coupling properties in biomaterials. However, the randomly oriented piezoelectric domains adversely affect the performance of piezoelectric biomaterials, and uniform polarization is needed for the material to show a macroscopic piezoelectric effect and to improve the performance of a piezoelectric device. We combine theoretical calculations and experimental studies to synthesize piezoelectric biomaterials based on amino acid and peptide self-assembly. We applied an electric field during the growth process to synthesize micron column arrays with controlled spontaneous polarization directions. We then studied the influence of the electric field on self-assembly. Our calculations showed that peptide-based piezoelectric materials outperform traditional piezoelectric ceramics in energy harvesting applications. We developed metabolite-based piezoelectric nanogenerators, composite nanogenerators, and flexible nanogenerators. We also revealed the degradation behavior of peptide-based nanogenerators in different solutions. The research of peptide self-assembly materials has strongly promoted the discovery of environmentally friendly biomimetic functional materials and the advancement of new energy, advanced sensing, and other technologies, improving and enhancing people's health and quality of life.
Rusen Yang is a Hua Shan professor and vice dean of the School of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Xidian University in China. In 2007, he received his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, where he continued as a Post-Doctoral Associate till 2010. From 2010 to 2018, he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he was elected as a McKnight Land Grant Professor in 2013. His research is focused on the self-assembly of novel nanostructures and their sensing and energy harvesting applications. He has created piezoelectric biomaterials with controlled polarization and fabricated high-performance sensors and energy harvesting devices. He has published over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals that have been cited over 12,000 times, and his transformative work won him NSF Career Award, 3M NTFA Award, and Nano Energy Award. His currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Deputy Editor of Research.