Soft Functional Materials

Soft Functional Materials


  • David A. Weitz, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA
December 7, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm


This talk will describe the formation of new functional materials using soft structures as scaffolds. These materials include nanoparticles the degree of crystallinity of which can be controlled and capsules with highly defined shells. Applications for encapsulation and release, and for drug delivery, will be discussed. An example of this is dynamic microcapsules that exhibit shell membranes with fast and reversible changes in permeability in response to external stimuli. To facilitate this, a hydrophobic anhydride monomer can be employed in the thiolene polymerization as a disguised precursor for the acid‐containing shells; this enables the direct encapsulation of aqueous cargo in the liquid core using microfluidic fabrication of water‐in‐oil‐in‐water double emulsion drops. The relevance of applying multiple experimental techniques to study these complex soft materials will become clear, and potential opportunities to use the tools available at ORNL will be discussed.

Additional Information 

About the Speaker:

Dr. Weitz received his PhD in physics from Harvard University and then joined Exxon Research and Engineering Company, where he worked for nearly 18 years. He then became a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania and then took a post at Harvard as professor of physics and applied physics. He leads a group studying soft matter science with a focus on materials science, biophysics, and microfluidics. Several startup companies have come from his lab to commercialize research concepts. He and his group have published more than 600 highly cited scientific manuscripts. Dr. Weitz has received many honors and is, among else, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, member of the National Academy of Sciences, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Chemistry. His main interest is the physics of soft condensed matter; materials easily deformed by external stresses, electric, magnetic or gravitational fields; and even thermal fluctuations.

Sponsoring Organization 

Neutron Scattering Division


  • Weinberg Auditorium
  • Building: 4500N
  • Room: I-126

Contact Information