Research into autonomic materials at the Beckman Institute led to a breakthrough application with the discovery of self-healing plastics. Now that research line has led to an entirely new method for doing chemistry.
Jeffrey Moore, Nancy Sottos, and Scott White, inventors of self-healing plastics and members of the Autonomous Materials Systems group, are co-authors of a paper describing the method. The journal Nature highlighted the work with a cover article in its March 22 issue. The cover image for the Nature article was designed by the Beckman Institute's Imaging Technology Group.
The paper, titled Biasing Reaction Pathways with Mechanical Force, is co-authored by Moore, Sottos, and White, along with lead author and Moore Group graduate student Charles Hickenboth, and fellow University of Illinois researchers Scott Wilson and Jerome Baudry. It describes how the researchers used mechanical force to manipulate matter and drive a chemical reaction along a desired path.
For more on the method, see the article by the U of I News Bureau, read the Nature article online, or read the paper. The Nature article also includes a video interview with Moore, Sottos, and White about the technique.
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