Soft Matter with Intelligence

Our lab seeks to understand the dynamics in the behaviour of functional particles due to induced or local interactions and scrutinize them to discover new engineering principles in developing dynamic/active soft material systems. Interactive particle ensembles can display collective properties that differ from those of individual particles or bulk samples. Their properties rely on controlling interactions between electromagnetic, optical, physical and biochemical properties of individual particles and the matrix that surrounds them. Therefore, self-assembly provides tools for designing functionalized particle ensembles, and applications include multifunctional programmable materials for soft-robotics, soft-electronics, self-healing materials, biological interfaces and so on. We will consider the key ingredients of self-assembly as a methodology that promotes technological initiatives including smart manufacturing and functional diversification of programmable matter at nearly every scale. These intelligent material systems with integrated functionalities are integral to making devices more energy-efficient, autonomous, and self-responding. 

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Programmable Soft Structures with Physical Intelligence

This project aims develop versatile composite materials with adaptive/programmable physical properties by incorporating self-assembled particles. Self-assembled particle networks determine physical properties of the material such as dielectric constant, magnetic anisotropy, mechanical stiffness and so on. Combining self-assembling nanopatterns composed of particle ensemble and simultaneous shaping of 3D scaffolds will allow us to fabricate 3D hierarchical structures having heterogeneous force anisotropy. The landscape of programmable force anisotropy will provides the material with "intelligence" such as shape-shifting properties, which can be applied to soft-robotics.

Active Particle Ensemble with Collective Intelligence

This project aims to design compartmentalized micro-sized soft particle swarm and develop strategies for the dynamic assembly of their collective. Using their behaviours, we aim to invent diverse engineering principles for dynamic/programmable configuring of 2D/3D structures for the synthetic material world. This will require reconfigurable micro-robot swarm consisting in many independent and identical modules, and these modules will combine to form functional assemblies. The mechanisms for perception, learning, self-control as well as physical design and material characteristics of large number of small scale particles will be studied to invent collective intelligence platform.

Composite Materials with Dynamic Biological Interfaces

This project aims to construct dynamic extracellular matrices in 3D using the self-assembly of particles which have biochemical or physical interfaces. Altering dynamics of the cellular environment can give a tool to modulate ecological behaviours or evolutionary diversification of cells in vitro and in vivo. In modifying a tissue environment, a key goal is to develop methodology to recreate topographical and chemical heterogeneity of the environmental architectures in a programmable/ independent manner. This nanoparticle ensemble-mediated biological niche construction will give us a new way to regulate cell dynamics broadening the possibilities of current nanomedicine, neuroengineering, etc.