While it is easy to thread a bead on a string in the macroscopic world, this is not always the case on molecular, nano- and microscopic length scales. We are developing new nano- and microscale bead-on-a-string assemblies. The sliding of the tiny beads along the strings offers a novel mechanism for stress dissipation, mass transport and actuation. In our work, we try to understand how to control and predict the properties of these “slide-ring materials” in order to develop new applications, such as eco-friendly plastics and rubbers, and soft nanomachines.

Laboratory for Emergent Nanomaterials