Soft Materials Branch
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Sponsored by Northwestern University and the Air Force Center of Excellence
Nanomaterials are of great interest as active elements in sensors and flexible electronics because of their unusual optical, electrical and magnetic properties. We are interested in using biomolecules to modify the surfaces of nanomaterials to make them responsive to biomarkers of human health and performance in sensors. While this is an area with great potential, little is known about the structure of biomolecules at the abiotic interface or the sequence-structure-function relationships in short peptides and DNA aptamers at the interface. In these studies we have used high resolution NMR to determine the structure of peptides bound to metal and metal oxide nanoparticles and have identified folded DNA aptamers that are able modulate interactions between Au nanoparticles. Structure determination at the interface remains a fundamental challenge for these materials.
Peter Mirau graduated with a B.A. in chemistry from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California San Francisco. Following postdoctoral study at the University of California San Diego he joined the Polymer Group at AT&T Bell Laboratories where he was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff. In 2002 Dr. Mirau moved to the Air Force Research Labs where his experimental focus is on polymer physics, nanocomposites and biomolecular interactions at the abiotic interface. Dr. Mirau is a fellow of the American Physical Society.