Sibani Biswal headshot


SURF Mentoring

Potential projects/topics: Biswal’s group was one of the earliest to engineer “colloidal polymers”, which are chains comprised of micron-sized paramagnetic particles that have been linked together with DNA. By controlling the applied magnetic field and DNA-linker length, chains can be engineered with persistence lengths (the length scale for bending) that vary over five orders of magnitude, ranging from rigid, semiflexible, and flexible. These chains have demonstrated novel dynamics, such as coiling and wagging, as a result of the competition between elastic, magnetic, and viscous forces. Her group has manipulated these chains with magnetic fields to demonstrate new microscale robots. Biswal’s group is also using microfluidic devices to study how to process new materials for energy processes.

Potential skills gained: New understanding of materials, physics, chemistry for energy

Required qualifications: None

Direct mentor: Faculty/P.I., Post-doctorate, Graduate Student

Mentored presenters may have participated in these courses

HONS 471

Student Project Titles List

Naphthenic Acid Adsorption at the Water-Calcite Interface via Spectroscopic Ellipsometry

Application of Nanoparticles to Mitigate Asphaltene Deposition in Crude Oil Reservoirs

Research Areas

Dr. Biswal’s research program focuses on using chemical, biological, and engineering approaches to study soft materials such as colloids, polymers, lipids, and surfactants. One of her main research area has been in developing new materials using colloidal particles. These synthetic materials are chains of patterned magnetic colloids that have rigidity and length specificity, and are able to demonstrate capability for folding, self-assembly, and specific chemical and biorecognition. Another area of interest is the use of microcantilever beams to investigate the lipid-dependent mechanisms responsible for vesicle rupture and bilayer fusion to form supported lipid bilayers and monolayers. These supported lipid bilayers have been widely studied as model systems for elucidating the properties of lipids, membranes and membrane proteins. Multiphase flow systems in microfluidic systems are used to study foam stability and polymer gelation. A new area of research our group has moved into is use new assembly methods to develop novel materials for batteries and solar technology.