EventDr. Ekaterina V. Skorb

Photostimulated physico-chemical processes at semiconductor / polyelectrolyte interface to further brain-inspired chemical computing

Processes at the interface of inorganic solids and polymers mimic a large variety of natural processes such as stimuli responsive behavior, self-healing, actuation, transport and delivery, pH-buffering, but they are not well understood. Polyelectrolyte multilayers are suitable for studying this, as they can be manipulated at will between glassy, rubbery, hydrogel or organogel. We suggest to investigate photocatalytically triggered local pH changes in titania / polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer (LbL) / lipid bilayer assembled interfaces, mimicking natural processes in a novel design strategy for inorganic / polymer interfaces as well as to further brain-inspired chemical computing.

We have shown recently that under irradiation of TiO2 a series of photocatalytic reactions leads to a local change in pH, which modulates the pH sensitive LbL assembly. Prime questions are: (i) how many photons are needed to locally change the pH on titania? (ii) what is the optimum LbL architecture to understand the basis of proton trapping and storage, the pH gradient under local irradiation? And (iii) how to achieve reversible actuation of different assemblies for advanced applications?

We focus for the first time on the possibility of efficient transformation of energy of electromagnetic irradiation into local pH shift to actuate soft matter. This is used to demonstrate the application on cell surface interactions, autocatalytic reactions, self-repairing strategies, use of a chemical systems to communicate with bacteria, in general control on non-linear chemical processes at interfaces.

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About The Speaker

Ekaterina-V

Ekaterina V. Skorb received her Ph.D “summa cum laude” in physical chemistry (2008). Subsequently, she was a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPIKG, Germany) with Prof. Helmuth Möhwald. From 2013 she was at Biomaterials
Department with Prof. Peter Fratzl (MPIKG, Germany) as a Group Leader. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (Harvard, USA) in Prof. George Whitesides group (2016-2017). Ekaterina has authored more than 70 (Nov.2018) research papers and received various fellowships (e.g. L’Oréal-UNESCO, RSF, ITMO, AvH, DAAD, LG Chem, etc.). From 2017 she is a professor at Chemistry and Chemical Biology Cluster at ITMO University leading a group of Infochemistry for Self-Adaptive Materials.
Her current research interests are spatiotemporal regulation of ion concentration gradients and dynamically molecules, microorganisms ordering, photocatalysis, high energy chemistry for material synthesis, and “information processing” in chemistry.