How to Arrest and Transport Biological Nano-Objects at the Quantum Level: Nanovalving of Individual Viruses and Macromolecules in Liquids

Seminar | April 23 | 4-5 p.m. | 3110 Etcheverry Hall

 Professor Dimos Poulikakos, Director, Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies; Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich

 Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME)

Abstract: The ability to controllably manipulate biological and synthetic nanoscopic species in liquids at the ultimate single object resolution (biological quantum level), is important to many fields such as biology, medicine, physics, chemistry and nanoengineering. Among the most significant barriers in the current state of the art that need to be overcome, are the necessity for intense fields (possibly harmful to biological species), the lack of versatility in operating conditions and the limited functionality in solutions of high ionic strength necessary for biological applications. In this lecture I will present a novel concept of electrokinetic nanovalving, with which we are able to confine and guide single biological nano-objects in a liquid, solely based on spatiotemporal tailoring of the free energy landscape guiding the motion. The electric field generating this energy landscape is readily modulated collaboratively by wall topography and by addressable embedded nanoelectrodes in a nanochannel. I will demonstrate guiding, confining, releasing and sorting of biological nano-objects, ranging from macromolecules to adenoviruses, but also a broad palette of other nano-objects such as lipid vesicles, dielectric and metallic particles, of various sizes and inherent charges, suspended in electrolytes with a wide range of ionic strengths, up to biological buffer solution levels. Such systems can enable individual handling of multiple entities in complex applications ranging from chemical or biochemical synthesis to precise drug delivery, in a continuous lab-on-chip environment with biological quantum level resolution.

Biography: Professor Dimos Poulikakos holds the Chair of Thermodynamics at ETH Zurich, where in 1996 he founded the Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies in the Institute of Energy Technology. He was a Member of the Research Commission of ETH (2001-2005). He served as the Vice President of Research of ETH Zurich in the period 2005-2007. Professor Poulikakos was the ETH director of the IBM-ETH Binnig-Rohrer Nanotechnology center, a unique private-public partnership in nanotechnology at the interface of basic research and future oriented applications (2008-2011). He served as the Head of the Mechanical and Process Engineering Department at ETH Zurich (2011-2014). He is currently the Chairperson of the Energy Science Center of ETH Zurich and a member of CORE, the advisory board of the Swiss government on issues related to energy.

His research is in the area of interfacial transport phenomena, thermodynamics and related materials nanoengineering, with a host of related applications. The focus is on understanding the related physics, in particular at the micro- and nanoscales and employing this knowledge to the development of novel technologies. Specific current examples of application areas are the direct 2D and 3D printing of complex liquids and colloids with nanoscale feature size and resolution, the science-based design of supericephobic and omniphobic surfaces, the chip/transistor-level, bio-inspired 3D integrated cooling of supercomputer electronics, the development of facile methods based on plasmonics for sunlight management and the development of nanofluidic technologies and surface textures for biological applications under realistic fluidic environments (accelerated and guided cell adhesion, re-endothelialization, antifibrotic surface textures and materials, single virus trapping and transport).

Among the awards and recognitions he has received for his contributions are the White House/NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985, the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal in 1986, the Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph R. Teetor Award in 1986, the University of Illinois Scholar Award in 1986 and the Reviewer of the Year Award for the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer in 1995. He is the recipient of the 2000 James Harry Potter Gold Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a Russell S. Springer Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of California at Berkeley (2003) and the Hawkins Memorial Lecturer of Purdue University in 2004. He received the Heat Transfer Memorial Award for Science in 2003 from ASME. In 2008 he was a visiting Fellow at Oxford University and a distinguished visitor at the University of Tokyo. He is the recipient of the 2009 Nusselt-Reynolds Prize of the World Assembly of Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics conferences (awarded every four years), for his scientific contributions. He is the 2012 recipient of the Max Jacob Award, for eminent scholarly achievement and distinguished leadership in the field of fluidics and heat transfer. Awarded annually to a scholar jointly by (ASME) and (AIChE), the Max Jacob Award is the highest honor in the field of thermofluidics these professional organizations bestow. He was presented with the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award of the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2012. He received the Dr.h.c. of the National Technical University of Athens in 2006. In 2008 he was elected to the Swiss National Academy of Engineering (SATW), where from 2012 to 2015 he also served as president of its science board., 510-642-2525