Ayusman Sen, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, has received a Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation worth 60,000 Euros. As a prizewinner, the internationally renowned leader in nanomotors, catalysis, and new materials is invited to carry out a research project of his choice in Germany for a period of between six months and one year. He plans to undertake his research in the Theory of Inhomogeneous Condensed Matter department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart.
“It is a great personal honor to win the Humboldt Prize and it recognizes the contributions that we and others have made to the burgeoning field of synthetic active matter and nano/micro-robots,” says Sen. „The prize will greatly facilitate our collaborations with fellow researchers in Germany, thereby helping the field to move forward.“
Prof. Sen with Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt-Foundation at the award ceremony in Berlin in the Orangerie of the Castle of Charlottenburg. Copyright: Humboldt-Stiftung/Jens Jeske
“Professor Sen has pioneered the field of synthetic chemical motors,” Prof. Dr. Siegfried Dietrich adds, who heads the Theory of Inhomogeneous Condensed Matter department at the MPI-IS and is one of Sen’s hosts. “He has shown that catalytically-active microparticles, in the presence of respective reactants, generate forces and move autonomously in solution. Such chemical motors have become widely used model systems in the burgeoning field of active matter research.”
During his stay in Germany, Sen intends to continue his research on emergent phenomena, collective effects, and enzymatically-powered chemical motors. “Our research focuses on the fabrication of autonomous nano and microbots that move and interact with each other and their surroundings,“ Sen explains. „These have potential applications in nanomachinery, nanoscale assembly, robotics, fluidics, and chemical/biochemical sensing. In mimicking biology, the goal of the proposed research is to answer the question: Can one design, build, and model self-powered synthetic nano and micro-scale materials which self-organize — based on signals from each other and from their environment — and thus perform complex tasks?“
During his stay in Stuttgart, Professor Sen is also hosted by Professor Fischer from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, by Professor Holm from the University of Stuttgart, and by Professor Stark from the TU Berlin.
Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually, regardless of the researcher’s discipline or nationality. When making its selection, the foundation takes into account the nominee’s achievements to date, looking for fundamental discoveries as well as new theories and insights that have had a significant impact on the researcher’s own discipline. The Foundation also looks to the future and considers the prospective cutting-edge achievements of the awardee.
Find out more about the Humboldt Research Award here.