SMAT Talks – Engineering responsive metal–phenolic materials via supramolecular assembly

Published 17 May, 2022

Webinar time: 18 May 2022, 14:00-16:00 (Beijing time)


The development of rapid and versatile coating strategies for interface and particle engineering is of widespread interest. This presentation will focus on formation of a versatile class of metal–organic materials, metal–phenolic networks (MPNs), which can be formed on various substrates by coordinating polyphenols and metal ions through self-assembly. This robust and modular assembly strategy is substrate independent (covering organic, inorganic and biological substrates), and has been used for the preparation of various materials, including thin films, particles, superstructures and macroscopic assemblies. It will be shown that a range of polyphenols and a library of metal ions are suitable for forming MPNs. The MPN materials are stable at physiological pH, but disassemble at acidic pH, thus making them of interest for the intracellular release of therapeutics. By altering the type of metal ions, different functions can be incorporated in the MPN materials, ranging from fluorescence to MRI and catalytic capabilities. In addition, synthetic polymer–phenol conjugates have been used as building materials to control the biofouling properties of the MPN materials. Examples of self-healing MPN gel materials and engineered protein-based nanoparticles will also be highlighted. The ease and scalability of the assembly process, combined with the tunable properties of MPNs, provide a new avenue for functional interface engineering and make MPNs potential candidates for biomedical, environmental and advanced materials applications.


Professor Frank Caruso

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Frank Caruso is a Laureate Professor and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, Australia. He received his PhD degree in 1994 from The University of Melbourne, and from 1994-1997 was at the CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers in Melbourne. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow and group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany from 1997–2002. From 2003-2012 he was an ARC Federation Fellow and from 2012-2017 an ARC Laureate Fellow at The University of Melbourne. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers with more than 50,000 citations. He is an Executive Editor of Chemistry of Materials and sits on the Editorial Advisory Boards of ten other scientific journals. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2009 and of the Royal Society of London in 2018.


Professor Feng Shi, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China

Professor Jiwei Cui, Shandong University, China

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