Actuated “Spiny” Surfaces à la Echinoderms: En Route for Adaptive Materials

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

CBS/CBE Distinguished Lecture Series in Honor of Professor Herbert Morawetz

Refreshments: 10:30 a.m.; Question and answers: ~11:45 a.m.

Presented by Joanna Aizenberg

Harvard University


The ability of organisms to respond to various stimuli provides an inspiration for modern engineering and science to develop a new generation of materials with dynamic, adaptive properties. Aizenberg will describe the synthesis, fabrication and characterization of new hybrid nano/micro-structures that mimic the echinoderm skin. She will demonstrate the reversibility of actuated and assembled spiny surfaces into a variety of previously unseen structures and describe its application in the context of new materials with reversible optical and wetting properties.

About the Speaker

Joanna Aizenberg pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomineralization, biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, biomaterials, biomechanics and bio-optics. In 1998 Aizenberg joined the technical staff at Bell Labs where she made several pioneering contributions including developing new biomimetic approaches for the synthesis of ordered mineral films with highly controlled shapes and orientations, and discovering unique optical systems formed by organisms.

In 2007 Aizenberg joined the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where she is Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.