Nathalie Katsonis

Professor of Smart and bio-inspired materials
University of Twente

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to accomplish…

I am motivated by the conviction that materials incorporating molecular motors and switches in their design can drive our research towards adaptive, environmentally friendly, and potentially more efficient molecular materials for a sustainable future.My specific focus is on using light to develop smart polymers, polymer networks and elastomers with tunable mechanical properties. These responsive materials can be developed into i) shape-shifting polymer particles for barrier coatings, or ii) as smart polymer ligands for selective catalysis.

In my scientific career, I am most proud of…

As a post-doctoral researcher, I have unraveled the mechanism by which a molecular motor drives the macroscopic rotation of a thin film of liquid crystal (Nature 2006, JACS 2008). Later I have contributed to transducing the electron-fuelled rotation of molecular motors into directional translation (Nature 2011). The most significant outcome of my starting career was arguably in demonstrating that the motion of a molecular photo-switch is amplified in polymer springs, and can be used to produce work (Nature Chemistry 2014). These smart springs also adapt their mechanical response to stress, in a manner that mimics muscle fibers (Nature Protocols 2016).

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