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Razavi, Sepideh

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Sepideh Razavi

Sepideh Razavi

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2015)

The City College of New York

M.S. Chemical Engineering (2012)
The City College of New York

M.S. Chemical Engineering (2007)
Sharif University of Technology (Iran)

B.S. Chemical Engineering (2005)
Arak University (Iran)

Research Group Website

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan (2015-2017)

(405) 325-5458

Academic Scholarship

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Research Interest

Soft matter engineering is an interdisciplinary field that brings together scientists from different backgrounds including chemists, material scientists, chemical engineers, applied mathematicians, mechanical engineers, and physicists. Developing new material, technologies and medical breakthroughs heavily relies on continued discoveries and innovation in this field. Fabrication of soft functional materials that are reconfigurable is a significant scientific and technological challenge. Addressing this challenge is of societal importance because of the ubiquity of soft materials in nearly every aspect of our daily lives and the remarkable role that their functionality plays in serving in a sophisticated application from electronics and optical devices to biomaterials and medicine. Recent breakthroughs in particle synthesis, have led to shape and chemical anisotropic particles, which are promising building blocks for the bottom-up assembly of programmable structures. Despite the versatile structures that can potentially emerge from these novel building blocks, experimental realization of the target structures can be challenging owing to the slow kinetics of the self-assembly process. External fields such as direct and alternating current electric fields, magnetic fields, and light can be employed to facilitate the assembly process by accelerating its kinetics. More importantly, field-assisted assembly can help with producing reconfigurable colloidal structures that can be manipulated in space and switched on and off in time.

Our research program focuses on the development of processes that are controllable, rapid, and inexpensive to assemble shape and surface anisotropic colloidal particles into a target structure with a unique set of functions. Through a multi-step interdisciplinary approach, we seek to address some outstanding questions in the area of colloidal assembly. How can we tune the interparticle interactions by exploiting shape or surface anisotropy? How is the assembly in bulk (3D or quasi 2D) different from 2D assembly in the presence of a fluid interface? What interactions are induced in the presence of a fluid interface and external electric/magnetic fields? Our research aims at tackling these questions and insights obtained from these studies contribute to our fundamental understanding of the principles central to the assembly processes and serve as a platform to effectively employ them. The gap in engineering science and technology that our research approach addresses is the lack of strategies to circumvent the kinetic barriers in the self-assembly process and the shortage of a dynamic control over the self-assembled structures. Unique aspects of our research approach are exploiting different forms of particle anisotropy to explore undiscovered assembly pathways and kinetic roadblocks, developing anisotropic colloid design rules that can be implemented in the “inverse design” of tailored soft materials, and employing external fields to navigate the assembly process. Using this knowledge, we plan to find new avenues for engineering soft functional materials via bottom-up assembly.