Self-assembling Building Blocks

Self-assembling building blocks occur in a diverse set of supramolecular, macromolecular, and other complex systems that impact numerous fields such as industrial dyes and pigments, xerographic receptors, organic semiconductors, transistors, light-emitting diodes and solar cells.  Prof. Paul Heiney collaborates with chemists and material scientists on the study of such molecular systems.


Topological Insulators

Recent physics research shows how spin-orbit coupling can rearrange electronic bands in a solid to make a "topological insulator" - a new quantum phase of matter with conductive surfaces even though its bulk is insulating.  Penn physicists Professor Charlie Kane and Professor Gene Mele pioneered the theoretical discovery of such materials in 2005.


CNT Transistor with Antibodies

Prof. Charlie Johnson's lab has produced new experiments demonstrating that carbon nanotube transistors (CNT) can detect minute quantities of biomarkers of diseases in less time than conventional methods.  Antibodies attached to 
CNT on a silicon chip change the electrical properties of the chip upon antibody-antigen binding hence detecting disease biomarkers.

Antibody Functionalized Sensor

Schematic of an antibody-functionalized graphene FET sensor.  Prof. Charlie Johnson functionalizes a graphene strip with an antibody to a Lyme disease biomarker protein.  The insulating substrate is shown in pink.  When antigen molecules bind to the antibody, the electrical characteristics of the FET are altered.

DNA-Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Chemical Sensors

The group of Professor Charlie Johnson has developed chemical sensors using single-walled carbon nanotubes wrapped with single-stranded DNA adsorbed to the nanotube's outer wall.