Dr. Anju Toor

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of California Berkeley

Dr. Anju Toor completed her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at University of California, Berkeley in 2017 under the guidance of Prof. Albert Pisano. She also collaborated closely with Prof. Thomas Russell and Brett Helms at LBNL. During Ph.D. she worked on (1) design and synthesis methods for functional, responsive nanocomposites with tunable mechanical properties at liquid interfaces and (2) dielectric property enhancement in polymer nanocomposite materials for energy storage applications. After graduation, she worked at Intel as a Process Integration Technologist in the 3D X-Point Non-volatile Memory Development. She joined Prof. Ana Arias's group at University of California Berkeley in March 2019, currently working on "On-Chip Integrated Micro-batteries" for powering MEMS portable devices.

Self-assembled Multifunctional Nanocomposite Materials

developed a simple, versatile and scalable method to generate nanocomposites at the interface between two immiscible liquids. The method involves interfacial interaction of NPs and amphiphilic polymers that bear complementary functional groups. This synergistic mechanism for engineering NP adsorption at the oil-water interface bypasses the need for painstaking tuning of the surface chemistry of the NP and the solvent properties. I have applied this self-assembly concept towards the following applications:

A. Microfluidic Emulsions with Nanocomposite Droplet Interfaces: I developed droplet interfaces covered with elastic, responsive monolayers of NP−polymer assemblies. These nanocomposite-stabilized microfluidic droplets would be useful as microreactors for droplet-based assays, diagnostics, and highthroughput screening.

B. 3D Printed Structured Liquids: Interfacial assemblies of NPs can also be used to shape liquids into complex, 3D objects, simultaneously forming 2D layers with novel magnetic, plasmonic, or structural properties. Fully exploiting all-liquid systems that are structured by their interfaces would create a new class of biomimetic, reconfigurable, and responsive materials. A 3D printer was used to generate bicontinuous, all-liquid systems that are shaped into complex structures by a functional, interfacial assembly of NPpolymer assemblies. These systems are responsive to their external environment, amenable to repeated reconfiguration, possess a tunable life-time, and exhibit a compartmentalized response to chemical cues.

C. Engineered NP-Laden Interfaces with Tunable Mechanical Properties: I demonstrated that the interactions between nanocrystal-bound polymer chains play a critical role in determining the mechanical moduli of nanoparticle monolayers self-assembled at the interface between two immiscible liquids. This work paves the way for the development of designer, multi-component oil-water interfaces with well-defined mechanical, structural, and functional properties.