The Department Welcomes Kyle Bishop

Kyle Bishop received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University (2009) under the guidance of Bartosz Grzybowski for his work on nanoscale forces in self-assembly.  Following his PhD, Dr. Bishop was a post-doctoral fellow with George Whitesides at Harvard University, where he developed new strategies for manipulating flames with electric fields.  In 2010, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Penn State University where he is currently the Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Assistant Professor. Dr. Bishop is the co-author of more than 65 refereed publications and the recipient of the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty award and the NSF CAREER award.  His research seeks to discover, understand, and apply new strategies for organizing and directing colloidal matter through self-assembly and self-organization far-from-equilibrium.

The future impact of nanotechnology will depend less on the structures we can fabricate and more on the functions we can engineer. Despite myriad methods for the synthesis of “small” structures, we struggle to direct and control the processes required for the realization of functional systems at colloidal scales (nanometers to microns). By contrast, living organisms harness flows of matter and energy to perform remarkable feats of engineering: they assemble dynamic multiscale materials; they capture and convert energy into complex motions; they regulate tangled networks of chemical reactions; they replicate their structures and processes in exponential fashion. Guided by this inspiration, our research seeks to characterize and control matter outside of thermodynamic equilibrium to enable new materials and technologies with capabilities that rival those of living organisms.

Our research focuses on the structure and dynamics of particulate matter (nanocrystals, droplets, etc.) dispersed in liquids with sizes ranging from few nanometers to tens of microns. This scale remains a challenging frontier in material science – often beyond the limits of both top-down fabrication strategies and bottom-up chemical approaches. Materials at these scales offer unique mechanical, electronic, and magnetic properties required by emerging applications in energy capture and storage, photonics, and electronics.  The challenge is often one of organization – how can many small components be arranged in space and time to create functional systems best exemplified by the complexity of living cells? Such complexity cannot be achieved at equilibrium but instead requires flows of matter and energy to enable smart materials capable of actuating, sensing, adapting, self-repairing, and even self-replicating. We use external stimuli (e.g., electric fields, chemical reactions, shear forces) to drive colloidal systems away from equilibrium in order (i) to understand dynamic (dissipative) self-assembly and (ii) to engineer the spontaneous organization of functional materials. Building on our expertise in colloidal interactions, self-assembly, and non-equilibrium phenomena, we integrate experiment with theory and simulation to unlock the mysteries of matter far from equilibrium and realize the full potential of nanotechnology.  


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