Biological & Soft Matter Seminar: Self-assembly, diffusion, and conformations of flexible colloidal structures
Dr. Daniela Kraft, Leiden University, Netherlands
Many functional (bio-)molecules possess structural flexibility which provides functionality. For example, different conformations may enhance or inhibit a protein’s activity in allosteric regulation or enable the catalytic activity of enzymes. Colloidal structures currently lack this property, restricting their use as building blocks in reconfigurable materials and model systems.
In this talk, I will show how we can create flexible colloidal structures by exploiting colloidal joints, that enable the formation of strong and specific but flexible bonds. I will describe how this bond mobility affects their diffusive and self-assembly behavior and illustrate the variety of flexible structures that we obtained. We dream of creating a new class of shape-changing materials and machines by integrating self-propelled particles that locally exert forces. As a first step towards that end, we studied their self-propulsion behavior near surfaces and developed a new way to make them using 3D printing.