The nanoscale world is replete with molecular-level topographical roughness and omnipresent compositional/conformational heterogeneities. In this fascinating place below the optical diffraction limit where chemistry and physics merge, science is challenging. In this context, scanning probe techniques have developped synergistically with the fabrication technology of micro and nanoelectromechanical (MEMS and NEMS) systems. In this seminar, I will use recent device advances in ultrasensitive scanning force microscopy to illustrate the synergistic interactions among nanoscale engineering, instrumentation development, and fundamental scientific understanding. I will share two stories of interest to chemists and material scientists. I will first present an application of ultrathin, fully suspended single-crystal silicon nanowires to the kinetic analysis of a solid-solid charge transfer reaction. The analysis revealed a mechanism that is likely general to solid-solid charge transfer processes. I will then show how a very specific need in the field of magnetic resonance force microscopy (MRFM) has prompted a solution to a long-standing challenge in materials science: complete control of the crystal orientation in the synthesis of single-crystal nanowire materials.
BIO Ye Tao graduated from Marianopolis with a double DEC in Music and Science in 2005. After an inspiring summer project in the laboratory of Prof. Louis Cuccia at Concordia, he pursued an education in physical chemistry and biochemistry at Harvard. He obtained his PhD studies in physical chemistry at MIT and in solid state physics at ETH Zurich. Ye has been a Rowland Fellow and principal investigator since 2016 at the Rowland Institute at Harvard.