Events Calendar

ChE Seminar Series: Transport of Nanoparticles Through Crowded, Complex Fluids

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: GLT 5.104

Transport of nanoparticles affects applications ranging from targeted drug delivery to point-of-care diagnostics to processing of nanocomposite materials. In each of these applications, nanoparticles must be transported through a complex fluid to reach the desired target, whether a cancerous tumor, a membrane, or a polymer melt. For large particles, the surrounding medium is effectively homogeneous across the surface of the particle, so that the transport properties can be directly related to the bulk fluid properties. For nanoparticles, however, the particle size is comparable to the length scales of heterogeneities in the fluid so that the particle dynamics decouple from bulk properties and are poorly understood. Here, we combine microscopy and scattering experiments with molecular simulation to investigate how nanoparticles transport through polymer solutions, which model viscoelastic liquids, and probe how the dynamics of the nanoparticles are coupled to relaxations of the surrounding liquid. I will specifically focus on recent studies probing transport through solutions of synthetic and natural charged polymers, where the macromolecular structure differs from that of neutral polymers due to the presence of charges. The physics elucidated in these studies will grant better control over the transport and dispersion of nanoparticles through complex, heterogeneous materials.

Jacinta Conrad is a physical scientist studying transport and dynamics within soft, complex materials and matrices. Using a broad range of microscopy, rheology, scattering, and computational methods, her group seeks to understand how microscale particles, including colloids, nanoparticles, bacteria, viruses, and proteins, explore and/or transport through confined and crowded environments. Insights gained from fundamental studies of these non-equilibrium processes inform the design of new materials for preventing fouling and corrosion, for remediating environmental damage, and for sensitively diagnosing disease. She earned an SB in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and MA and PhD degrees in Physics from Harvard. She worked as a postdoctoral associate in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before starting her faculty position at the University of Houston (UH). Currently, she is the Frank M. Tiller Professor of Chemical Engineering at UH, an Executive Editor at ACS Applied Nano Materials, and a Fellow of the Society of Rheology and the American Physical Society.

Speaker: Dr. Jacinta Conrad, Univ. of Houston