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Materials Science and Engineering Seminar Series

Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Kimball Hall, B11

Bio-inspired single-crystal composites: Growth Mechanisms and Properties 

Lara A. Estroff

Biogenic calcite (CaCO3) crystals are known to incorporate biomacromolecules and other organic molecules while still diffracting x-rays as single crystals. Such structures represent an interesting class of crystalline materials that can couple high surface areas with high degrees of long-range order. We have pursued several synthetic strategies for achieving incorporation of second phases within mesostructured crystalline materials. In this talk, I will present results related to the formation mechanisms, internal structures, and properties of calcite crystals grown in gels and copper oxide nanorods grown in confinement.  I will also our discuss recent in situ AFM studies of calcite growth in the presence of polymeric micelles with varying surface chemistries. These results have the potential to lead to design criteria for polymer-reinforced crystalline materials with unique structure-property relationships. In addition, insights provided by this work may help to elucidate the formation mechanism(s) and properties of biogenic single crystals with incorporated organic material.

Short bio: Lara A. Estroff received her B.A. with honors from Swarthmore College (1997), with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Anthropology. Before beginning her graduate studies, she spent a year at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel as a visiting researcher in the labs of Profs Lia Addadi and Steve Weiner. During this time, she was introduced to the field of biomineralization and studied chemical approaches to archeological problems. In 2003, she received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University for work done in Prof. Andrew D. Hamilton's laboratory on the design and synthesis of bio-inspired organic superstructures to control the growth of inorganic crystals. After completing graduate school, she was an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow in Prof. George M. Whiteside's laboratory at Harvard University (2003-2005). Since 2005, Dr. Estroff has been in Materials Science and Engineering department at Cornell University and in 2012 she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.  She currently serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in the department. Her group focuses on bio-inspired materials synthesis, in particular, the study of crystal growth mechanisms in gels and their relationships to biomineralization. She has received several awards, including an NSF Early Faculty Career Award in 2009 and a J.D. Watson Young Investigator’s award from NYSTAR in 2006.


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Materials Science and Engineering


Lara Estroff

Speaker Affiliation

Cornell University, Materials Science and Engineering

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