Alfredo Alexander-Katz

  • Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
  • B.S. Physics, UNAM (Mexico), 1998
  • Ph.D. Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2004

Biophysics; Computational Materials Science; Condensed Matter Physics; Nanotechnology; Polymers; Self Assembly

Alfredo Alexander-Katz

Research

Prof. Alfredo Alexander-Katz' doctoral work focused on understanding the self-assembly of copolymers using novel field-theoretical methods. As an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow, he moved to Munich to study the dynamics of driven polymers. His work in Munich led to an important discovery that unraveled the mystery behind the process of blood clotting at high shear rates and opened new routes for the development of novel shear responsive materials. He later moved to the Ecole Superieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle (Paris, France) as a CNRS postdoctoral researcher to study charged polymer solutions and their self-assembly with direct applications to fuel cells. His current interests lie in the realm of self-assembly and dynamics of biological soft-materials using a combination of analytical theory and simulations. His group is particularly focused in designing novel polymer-like drug delivery carriers and understanding their response to chemical and physical stimuli. This work aims to enable a new generation of drug-delivery vectors that could target different areas of the body in a very specific manner, and to provide a much deeper understanding of the processes of adhesion and targeting in flow. Other topics that he is currently pursuing is understanding the supramolecular self-assembly of chlorophyls in the antennas of Photosynthetic Bacteria which are the most efficient light harvesting organisms on Earth, as well as studying the dynamics of driven soft systems in general. The research in Prof. Alexander-Katz's group is highly interdisciplinary, and lies at the interface of materials, biology, physics, chemistry and medicine.

Recent News

DMSE Faculty host summer undergraduate researchers

From simulating the physics of spinning magnetic particles to fabricating new materials for infrared chemical sensing, MIT Materials Research Laboratory summer researchers will challenge themselves to learn new skills and develop new scientific insights. A diverse group of top-performing…   more

2018 GMC Awards

During the 2018 GMC Awards, Alfredo Alexander-Kats won Best Advisor and Niels Holten-Andersen won Best Teacher. Congratulations to both of them!     more

MIT News Profile: Alfredo Alexander-Katz

Professor Alfredo Alexander-Katz was recently profiled by MIT News and featured on the MIT homepage! You can read a little about his path to MIT, as well as his past and current research by checking out the MIT News…   more

Unexpected long-range particle interactions

Moving bodies can be attracted to each other, even when they’re quite far apart and separated by many other objects: That, in a nutshell, is the somewhat unexpected finding by a team of researchers at MIT. Scientists have known for a long time that small particles of matter, from the size…   more

Self-Stacking Nanogrids

Members of DMSE have discovered a way to stack block-copolymer layers into neatly…   more

GMC announces 2015 awards

The Graduate Materials Council has announced the 2015 faculty awards. Best Advisor is Prof. Alfredo Alexander-Katz Best Teacher is Prof. Michael Demkowicz The awards are determined by vote after all DMSE grad students have the opportunity to…   more

Publications

2018

A. Alexander-Katz and Van Lehn, R. C., “Random copolymers that protect proteins”, Science, vol. 359. pp. 1216-1217, 2018.
S. Lee et al., “Double-Layer Morphologies from a Silicon-Containing ABA Triblock Copolymer”, ACS Nano, vol. 12. pp. 6193-6202, 2018.
K. R. Gadelrab et al., “Limits of Directed Self-Assembly in Block Copolymers”, Nano Letters, vol. 18. pp. 3766-3772, 2018.
L. -C. Cheng et al., “Templated Self-Assembly of a PS- \textitBranch -PDMS Bottlebrush Copolymer”, Nano Letters, vol. 18. pp. 4360-4369, 2018.
S. M. Nicaise, Gadelrab, K. R., G, A. T. K., Ross, C. A., Alexander-Katz, A., and Berggren, K. K., “Rapid shear alignment of sub-10 nm cylinder-forming block copolymer films based on thermal expansion mismatch”, Nano Futures, vol. 1. p. 035006, 2018.
A. Belessiotis-Richards, Stevens, M. M., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Nanoporosity Influences Membrane Curvature and Subsequent Endocytosis”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 114. p. 553a—554a, 2018.
P. U. Atukorale et al., “Structure–Property Relationships of Amphiphilic Nanoparticles That Penetrate or Fuse Lipid Membranes”, Bioconjugate Chemistry, vol. 29. pp. 1131-1140, 2018.

2017

R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Grafting Charged Species to Membrane-Embedded Scaffolds Dramatically Increases the Rate of Bilayer Flipping”, ACS Central Science, vol. 3. pp. 186-195, 2017.
J. Lin, Dargazany, R., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Lipid Flip-Flop and Pore Nucleation on Zwitterionic Bilayers are Asymmetric under Ionic Imbalance”, Small, vol. 13. p. 1603708, 2017.
R. Dargazany, Chen, H., Lin, J., Azad, A. I., and Alexander-Katz, A., “On the validity of representation of the inter-particle forces of a polymer-colloid cluster by linear springs”, Polymer, vol. 109. pp. 266-277, 2017.
J. L. Aragones and Alexander-Katz, A., “Block copolymer templated self-assembly of disk-shaped molecules”, The Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 147. p. 054905, 2017.
H. K. Choi et al., “Nanoscale spirals by directed self-assembly”, Nano Futures, vol. 1. p. 015001, 2017.
J. Lin, Dargazany, R., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Lipid Flip-Flop and Pore Nucleation on Zwitterionic Bilayers are Asymmetric under Ionic Imbalance”, Small, vol. 13. p. UNSP - 1603708, 2017.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Grafting Charged Species to Membrane-Embedded Scaffolds Dramatically Increases the Rate of Bilayer Flipping”, Acs Central Science, vol. 3. pp. 186-195, 2017.
R. Dargazany, Chen, H., Lin, J., Azad, A. I., and Alexander-Katz, A., “On the validity of representation of the inter-particle forces of a polymer-colloid cluster by linear springs”, Polymer, vol. 109. pp. 266-277, 2017.
K. R. Gadelrab, Hannon, A. F., Ross, C. A., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Inverting the design path for self-assembled block copolymers”, Molecular Systems Design \& Engineering, vol. 2. pp. 539-548, 2017.
A. M. Al-Olayan and Alexander-Katz, A., “New Shear Thickening Dilatancy Dispersion Based on Nano-Silica Beads for Oilfield Applications”, in Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition \& Conference, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2017.

2016

J. Lin and Alexander-Katz, A., “Probing Lipid Bilayers under Ionic Imbalance”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 111. pp. 2460-2469, 2016.
R. Dargazany, Lin, J., Khalili, L., Itskov, M., Chen, H., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Micromechanical model for isolated polymer-colloid clusters under tension”, Physical Review E, vol. 94. p. 042501, 2016.
K. Kawamoto et al., “Graft-through Synthesis and Assembly of Janus Bottlebrush Polymers from A-Branch-B Diblock Macromonomers”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 138. pp. 11501-11504, 2016.
M. A. Tahir, Van Lehn, R. C., Choi, S. H., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Solvent-exposed lipid tail protrusions depend on lipid membrane composition and curvature”, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes, vol. 1858. pp. 1207-1215, 2016.
R. Wang, Alexander-Katz, A., Johnson, J. A., and Olsen, B. D., “Universal Cyclic Topology in Polymer Networks”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 116. p. 188302, 2016.
J. P. Steimel, Aragones, J. L., Hu, H., Qureshi, N., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Emergent ultra-long-range interactions between active particles in hybrid active-inactive systems”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 113. pp. 4652-4657, 2016.
J. L. Aragones, Steimel, J. P., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Elasticity-induced force reversal between active spinning particles in dense passive media”, Nature Communications, vol. 7. p. 11325, 2016.
A. K. G. Tavakkoli, Nicaise, S. M., Gadelrab, K. R., Alexander-Katz, A., Ross, C. A., and Berggren, K. K., “Multilayer block copolymer meshes by orthogonal self-assembly”, Nature Communications, vol. 7. p. 10518, 2016.

2015

W. Bai, Gadelrab, K., Alexander-Katz, A., and Ross, C. A., “Perpendicular Block Copolymer Microdomains in High Aspect Ratio Templates”, Nano Letters, vol. 15. pp. 6901-6908, 2015.
A. F. Hannon, Bai, W., Alexander-Katz, A., and Ross, C. A., “Simulation methods for solvent vapor annealing of block copolymer thin films”, Soft Matter, vol. 11. pp. 3794-3805, 2015.
A. F. Hannon, Bai, W., Alexander-Katz, A., and Ross, C. A., “Simulation methods for solvent vapor annealing of block copolymer thin films”, Soft Matter, vol. 11. pp. 3794-3805, 2015.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Pathway for insertion of amphiphilic nanoparticles into defect-free lipid bilayers from atomistic molecular dynamics simulations”, Soft Matter, vol. 11. pp. 3165-3175, 2015.

2014

K. W. Gotrik et al., “3D TEM Tomography of Templated Bilayer Films of Block Copolymers”, Advanced Functional Materials, vol. 24. pp. 7689-7697, 2014.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Membrane-Embedded Nanoparticles Induce Lipid Rearrangements Similar to Those Exhibited by Biological Membrane Proteins”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, vol. 118. pp. 12586-12598, 2014.
J. P. Steimel, Aragones, J. L., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Artificial Tribotactic Microscopic Walkers: Walking Based on Friction Gradients”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 113. 2014.
W. Bai et al., “Thin Film Morphologies of Bulk-Gyroid Polystyrene-block-polydimethylsiloxane under Solvent Vapor Annealing”, Macromolecules, vol. 47. pp. 6000-6008, 2014.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Fusion of Ligand-Coated Nanoparticles with Lipid Bilayers: Effect of Ligand Flexibility”, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, vol. 118. pp. 5848-5856, 2014.
R. C. Van Lehn et al., “Lipid tail protrusions mediate the insertion of nanoparticles into model cell membranes”, Nature Communications, vol. 5. 2014.
H. Chen and Alexander-Katz, A., “Unfolding of collapsed polymers in shear flow: Effects of colloid banding structures in confining channels”, Physical Review E, vol. 89. 2014.
A. Alexander-Katz, “Toward Novel Polymer-Based Materials Inspired in Blood Clotting”, Macromolecules, vol. 47. pp. 1503-1513, 2014.
J. -B. Chang, Choi, H. K., Hannon, A. F., Alexander-Katz, A., Ross, C. A., and Berggren, K. K., “Design rules for self-assembled block copolymer patterns using tiled templates”, Nature Communications, vol. 5. 2014.
A. K. G. Tavakkoli et al., “Sacrificial-post templating method for block copolymer self-assembly.”, Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany), vol. 10. pp. 493-418, 2014.
A. T. K. G et al., “Self-assembly: sacrificial-post templating method for block copolymer self-assembly (small 3/2014).”, Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany), vol. 10. pp. 418-418, 2014.
A. F. Hannon, Ding, Y., Bai, W., Ross, C. A., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Optimizing Topographical Templates for Directed Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers via Inverse Design Simulations”, Nano Letters, vol. 14. pp. 318-325, 2014.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Free energy change for insertion of charged, monolayer-protected nanoparticles into lipid bilayers”, Soft Matter, vol. 10. pp. 648-658, 2014.
Y. J. Kim, Chen, H., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Free energy landscape and localization of nanoparticles at block copolymer model defects”, Soft Matter, vol. 10. pp. 3284-3291, 2014.

2013

J. Lin and Alexander-Katz, A., “Cell Membranes Open "Doors" for Cationic Nanoparticles/Biomolecules: Insights into Uptake Kinetics”, Acs Nano, vol. 7. pp. 10799-10808, 2013.
W. I. Park et al., “Host-Guest Self-assembly in Block Copolymer Blends”, Scientific Reports, vol. 3. 2013.
D. M. Steppich et al., “Relaxation of ultralarge VWF bundles in a microfluidic-AFM hybrid reactor (vol 369, pg 507, 2008)”, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 441. pp. 272-272, 2013.
H. Chen et al., “Hematocrit and flow rate regulate the adhesion of platelets to von Willebrand factor”, Biomicrofluidics, vol. 7. 2013.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Structure of Mixed-Monolayer-Protected Nanoparticles in Aqueous Salt Solution from Atomistic Molecular Dynamics Simulations”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, vol. 117. pp. 20104-20115, 2013.
C. E. Sing, Selvidge, J. G., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Von Willlebrand Adhesion to Surfaces at High Shear Rates Is Controlled by Long-Lived Bonds”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 105. pp. 1475-1481, 2013.
R. C. Van Lehn et al., “Effect of Particle Diameter and Surface Composition on the Spontaneous Fusion of Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles with Lipid Bilayers”, Nano Letters, vol. 13. pp. 4060-4067, 2013.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Ligand-Mediated Short-Range Attraction Drives Aggregation of Charged Mono layer-Protected Gold Nanoparticles”, Langmuir, vol. 29. pp. 8788-8798, 2013.
H. Chen, Kim, Y. J., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Lattice Boltzmann method for multiscale self-consistent field theory simulations of block copolymers”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 138. 2013.
A. F. Hannon, Gotrik, K. W., Ross, C. A., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Inverse Design of Topographical Templates for Directed Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers”, Acs Macro Letters, vol. 2. pp. 251-255, 2013.
H. Chen et al., “Blood-clotting-inspired reversible polymer-colloid composite assembly in flow”, Nature Communications, vol. 4. 2013.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Microwalkers”, in Artificial Cilia, 2013, pp. 186-211.
H. Chen and Alexander-Katz, A., “Structure and dynamics of blood-clotting-inspired polymer-colloid composites”, Soft Matter, vol. 9. pp. 10381-10390, 2013.

2012

K. W. Gotrik, Hannon, A. F., Son, J. G., Keller, B., Alexander-Katz, A., and Ross, C. A., “Morphology Control in Block Copolymer Films Using Mixed Solvent Vapors”, Acs Nano, vol. 6. pp. 8052-8059, 2012.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Force Spectroscopy of Self-Associating Homopolymers”, Macromolecules, vol. 45. pp. 6704-6718, 2012.
A. K. G. Tavakkoli, Hannon, A. F., Gotrik, K. W., Alexander-Katz, A., Ross, C. A., and Berggren, K. K., “Rectangular Symmetry Morphologies in a Topographically Templated Block Copolymer”, Advanced Materials, vol. 24. p. 4249 - +, 2012.
A. K. G. Tavakkoli, Gotrik, K. W., Hannon, A. F., Alexander-Katz, A., Ross, C. A., and Berggren, K. K., “Templating Three-Dimensional Self-Assembled Structures in Bilayer Block Copolymer Films”, Science, vol. 336. pp. 1294-1298, 2012.
M. Wang, Alexander-Katz, A., and Olsen, B. D., “Diffusion of Entangled Rod-Coil Block Copolymers”, Acs Macro Letters, vol. 1. pp. 676-680, 2012.
J. -B. Chang, Son, J. G., Hannon, A. F., Alexander-Katz, A., Ross, C. A., and Berggren, K. K., “Aligned Sub-10-nm Block Copolymer Patterns Templated by Post Arrays”, Acs Nano, vol. 6. pp. 2071-2077, 2012.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Designed molecular mechanics using self-associating polymers”, Soft Matter, vol. 8. pp. 11871-11879, 2012.

2011

T. R. Einert, Sing, C. E., Alexander-Katz, A., and Netz, R. R., “Conformational dynamics and internal friction in homopolymer globules: equilibrium vs. non-equilibrium simulations”, European Physical Journal E, vol. 34. 2011.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Theory of Tethered Polymers in Shear Flow: The Strong Stretching Limit”, Macromolecules, vol. 44. pp. 9020-9028, 2011.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Giant Nonmonotonic Stretching Response of a Self-Associating Polymer in Shear Flow”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 107. 2011.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Communication: Lateral phase separation of mixed polymer brushes physisorbed on planar substrates”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 135. 2011.
H. Chen and Alexander-Katz, A., “Dynamics of Polymers in Flowing Colloidal Suspensions”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 107. 2011.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Equilibrium Structure and Dynamics of Self-Associating Single Polymers”, Macromolecules, vol. 44. pp. 6962-6971, 2011.
Y. J. Kim, Ha, E., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Phase Behavior of Disk-Coil Macromolecules”, Macromolecules, vol. 44. pp. 7016-7025, 2011.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Non-monotonic hydrodynamic lift force on highly extended polymers near surfaces”, Epl, vol. 95. 2011.
Y. J. Kim and Alexander-Katz, A., “Phase behavior of symmetric disk-coil macromolecules with stacking interactions”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 135. 2011.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Dynamics of collapsed polymers under the simultaneous influence of elongational and shear flows”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 135. 2011.
C. E. Sing, Einert, T. R., Netz, R. R., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Probing structural and dynamical transitions in polymer globules by force”, Physical Review E, vol. 83. 2011.
J. G. Son, Hannon, A. F., Gotrik, K. W., Alexander-Katz, A., and Ross, C. A., “Hierarchical Nanostructures by Sequential Self-Assembly of Styrene-Dimethylsiloxane Block Copolymers of Different Periods”, Advanced Materials, vol. 23. p. 634 - +, 2011.
H. Chen and Alexander-Katz, A., “Polymer-Based Catch-Bonds”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 100. pp. 174-182, 2011.
R. C. Van Lehn and Alexander-Katz, A., “Penetration of lipid bilayers by nanoparticles with environmentally-responsive surfaces: simulations and theory”, Soft Matter, vol. 7. pp. 11392-11404, 2011.

2010

R. A. Mickiewicz et al., “Enhancing the Potential of Block Copolymer Lithography with Polymer Self-Consistent Field Theory Simulations”, Macromolecules, vol. 43. pp. 8290-8295, 2010.
C. A. Ross et al., “Sub-20 nm nanolithography using templated block copolymers”, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 240. 2010.
R. C. Van Lehn, Sing, C. E., Chen, H., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Multidimensional Targeting: Using Physical and Chemical Forces in Unison”, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, vol. 11. pp. 320-332, 2010.
Y. J. Kim and Alexander-Katz, A., “Phase behavior of symmetric disk-coil molecules”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 132. 2010.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Elongational Flow Induces the Unfolding of von Willebrand Factor at Physiological Flow Rates”, Biophysical Journal, vol. 98. pp. L35 - L37, 2010.
C. E. Sing and Alexander-Katz, A., “Globule-Stretch Transitions of Collapsed Polymers in Elongational Flow Fields”, Macromolecules, vol. 43. pp. 3532-3541, 2010.
J. K. W. Yang et al., “Complex self-assembled patterns using sparse commensurate templates with locally varying motifs”, Nature Nanotechnology, vol. 5. pp. 256-260, 2010.
C. E. Sing, Schmid, L., Schneider, M. F., Franke, T., and Alexander-Katz, A., “Controlled surface-induced flows from the motion of self-assembled colloidal walkers”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 107. pp. 535-540, 2010.

2009

A. Alexander-Katz, Wada, H., and Netz, R. R., “Internal Friction and Nonequilibrium Unfolding of Polymeric Globules”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 103. 2009.
A. Alexander-Katz and Leibler, L., “Controlling polyelectrolyte equilibria and structure via counterion-solvent interactions”, Soft Matter, vol. 5. pp. 2198-2207, 2009.

2008

A. Alexander-Katz and Netz, R. R., “Dynamics and instabilities of collapsed polymers in shear flow”, Macromolecules, vol. 41. pp. 3363-3374, 2008.
D. M. Steppich et al., “Relaxation of ultralarge VWF bundles in a microfluidic-AFM hybrid reactor”, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 369. pp. 507-512, 2008.

2007

A. Alexander-Katz and Fredrickson, G. H., “Diblock copolymer thin films: A field-theoretic simulation study”, Macromolecules, vol. 40. pp. 4075-4087, 2007.
S. W. Schneider et al., “Shear-induced unfolding triggers adhesion of von Willebrand factor fibers”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 104. pp. 7899-7903, 2007.
A. Alexander-Katz and Netz, R. R., “Surface-enhanced unfolding of collapsed polymers in shear flow”, Epl, vol. 80. 2007.

2006

A. Alexander-Katz, Schneider, M. F., Schneider, S. W., Wixforth, A., and Netz, R. R., “Shear-flow-induced unfolding of polymeric globules”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 97. 2006.

2005

A. Alexander-Katz, Moreira, A. G., Sides, S. W., and Fredrickson, G. H., “Field-theoretic simulations of polymer solutions: Finite-size and discretization effects (vol 122,pg 014904, 2005)”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 122. 2005.
A. Alexander-Katz, Moreira, A. G., Sides, S. W., and Fredrickson, G. H., “Field-theoretic simulations of polymer solutions: Finite-size and discretization effects”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 122. 2005.

2003

A. Alexander-Katz, Moreira, A. G., and Fredrickson, G. H., “Field-theoretic simulations of confined polymer solutions”, Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 118. pp. 9030-9036, 2003.
A. Alexander-Katz, Moreira, A. G., and Fredrickson, G. H., “Simulations of polymer solutions: A field-theoretic approach”, in Mesoscale Phenomena in Fluid Systems, vol. 861, 2003, pp. 279-289.