News in Research

Controlling the shape of chiral molecules
Aug 16, 2022

The work of the Olvera de la Cruz group and the Bedzyk group on chirality was featured in the news. They dive into the analysis of how organizing molecules into bigger units has implications in drug delivery and nanoelectronics.

See also: [MRS Bulletin Interview]

Upcycling polyester could reduce plastic waste
Mar 21, 2022

Building polymers capable of encapsulating the enzyme to protect its structure will allow it to function outside of the living cell.

New research institute will utilize cell-free systems for global needs
Mar 28, 2022

Northwestern University and the U.S. Army collaborate to develop point-of-need products. They've created a new basic science research institute, the Cell-Free Biomanufacturing Institute, to accelerate synthetic biology technology development.

Microparticles show ability to turn in reverse, paving the way for microfluidic devices
Feb 22, 2022

In collaboration with the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), researchers have found a way to systematically reverse vortices of particles using electric fields.

How understanding metallization of materials could help the development of superionic materials for safe, efficient batteries
Nov 29, 2021

Led by Monica Olvera de la Cruz, a team of McCormick School of Engineering researchers observed a classical system that exhibits a transition between insulating and conducting states. The group hopes this will accelerate the development of safe solid-state batteries, with the usage of metallizable colloidal crystals for future prototypes.

Microspheres quiver when shocked
Jun 24, 2021

The Olvera de la Cruz group, working with the Bishop's group at Columbia University, report that they have demonstrated the use of DC electric fields to drive back-and-forth rotation of micro-particles in electric boundary layers. These particle oscillators could be useful as clocks that coordinate the organization of active matter and even, perhaps, orchestrate the functions of micron-scale robots.

Designing soft materials that mimic biological functions
May 10, 2021

Northwestern Engineering researchers have developed a theoretical model to design soft materials that demonstrate autonomous oscillating properties that mimic biological functions. The work could advance the design of responsive materials used to deliver therapeutics as well as for robot-like soft materials that operate autonomously.