Seminar by Paul Weiss

Seminar Presentation: 11:00am – Noon

Cooperative Function in Atomically Precise Nanoscale Assemblies

Paul Weiss, PhD

University of California, Los Angeles


We use molecular design, tailored syntheses, intermolecular interactions, and selective chemistry to direct molecules into desired positions to create nanostructures, connect functional molecules to the outside world, and to serve as test structures for measuring single or bundled molecules. Interactions within and between molecules can be designed, directed, measured, understood, and exploited at unprecedented scales. Such interactions can be used to form precise molecular assemblies, nanostructures, and patterns, and to control and to stabilize function. We selectively test hypothesized mechanisms by varying molecular design, chemical environment, and measurement conditions to enable or disable function and control using predictive and testable means. To understand these variations, it has been critical to develop the means to make tens to hundreds of thousands of independent single-molecule/assembly measurements in order to develop sufficiently significant statistical distributions, while retaining the heterogeneity inherent in the measurements. We measure the electronic coupling of the molecules and substrates by measuring the polarizabilities of the connected functional molecules. The next step in such devices is to learn to assemble and to operate molecules together, both cooperatively and hierarchically, in analogy to biological muscles. We discuss our initial efforts in this area, in which we find both interferences and cooperativity.


Paul S. Weiss is a distinguished professor of chemistry & biochemistry and of materials science & engineering at UCLA. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees in chemistry from MIT, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkley. He was a postdoctoral member at Bell Laboratories and a visiting scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center. Dr. Weiss served as the Director of the California NanoSystems Institute and held the Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences at UCLA from 2009-2014. His interdisciplinary research group includes chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists, mathematicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, and computer scientists. Their work focuses on the ultimate limits of miniaturization, exploring the atomic-scale chemical, physical, optical, mechanical, and electronic properties of surfaces and supramolecular assemblies. Two current major themes in his laboratory are cooperativity in functional molecules and single-molecule biological structural and functional measurements. Dr. Weiss has over 300 publications, holds over 20 patents, and has given over 500 invited, plenary, keynote, and named lectures. He was the Senior Editor of IEEE Electron Device Letters for molecular and organic electronics (2005-07), and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of ACS Nano, where he won the Association of American Publishers, Professional Scholarly Publishing PROSE Award for 2008, Best New Journal in Science, Technology, and Medicine, and ISI’s Rising Star Award a record ten times.

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