Ben McDonald: Responsive Membranes and Surfaces

Ben McDonald: Responsive Membranes and Surfaces

Thursday, March 12th 12:00pm – 1:00pm; Stratton Student Center, Room 307 (W20-307)

MLK Visiting Scholar Luncheon with Ben McDonald, PhD

Ben McDonald

Surfaces are omnipresent; our visual reality is constructed by our ability to sense surfaces. Simply the boundary of two environments or phases, their ubiquity renders them pedestrian in the context of our everyday life. However, surfaces possess unique and often difficult to understand physical and chemical properties.

Nobel Laureate Wolfgang Pauli famously said, “God made the bulk; surfaces were invented by the devil”. This characterization of surfaces and interfaces as diabolical arises from the difficulty in understanding and controlling phenomena at these boundaries. This challenge arises from the fleetingly thin layer of matter that interact on one side with like atoms and on the other, completely different matter.

These interactions of matter at surfaces and interfaces underpins the function of all things physical; life, technology, and the natural world. As such, the ability to engineer the properties of solid surfaces and liquid-liquid interfaces for the realization of “smart” materials with dynamic and programmable responses.

Join MLK visiting scholar and Swager Group member Ben McDonald in a discussion of emulsions with switchable optical properties for chemical sensors and chemical-warfare agent responsive membranes for a responsive “second skin”.