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Simon J.L. Billinge, PhD
Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics
(Host: Prof. Lian Yu)
Increasingly we seek smarter ways to deliver therapies in a targeted way. Nanoscience can play an important role in this endeavor and many researchers are exploring ways to engineer materials at the nanoscale to get formulations for such targeted deliveries. But to do this safely and effectively it is crucial to be able to characterize the materials at the atomic scale. This is difficult because of the nanostructure problem, our inability to determine with accuracy the arrangements of atoms when those arrangements extend only on nanometer length-scales. Coming from the physics community, the atomic pair distribution function analysis of x-ray and neutron powder diffraction is having huge impacts in studies of nanomaterials. In recent developments we were able to extend this to weakly scattering systems, dilute systems and molecular systems, making this an ideal tool for studying organics and formulations. The latest x-ray sources and the latest computational methods for data analysis and modeling are giving us an unprecedented view into atomic arrangements at the nanoscale in organics, pharmaceuticals and excipients. The ability to measure with spatial and temporal resolution is allowing us to visualize heterogeneous materials and probe nanostructure inside solid objects. This talk will be a tour of the nanostructure characterization landscape state of the art.