Dr. Brian Rodriguez from the University College Dublin, Ireland, will give a talk on July 16, at 11.30 am at the Amphitheatre of DEMaC, UA, entitled: “Piezoelectricity in Biopolymers”.


Piezoelectricity is a property of many organic and biological materials, including collagen, nucleobase crystals, and peptide nanostructures. Recent progress in understanding the origin and role of piezoelectricity in these materials will be discussed. Piezoelectric properties of collagen, etc. can be measured using piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), which is a voltage-modulated contact mode atomic force microscopy technique that allows bias-induced surface deformations via the converse piezoelectric effect to be detected. Thus, PFM makes it possible to investigate electromechanical coupling in biosystems and organic materials at the nanoscale. PFM has been used to study polar ordering in tendon, eye tissues, and collagen hydrogels, and more recently, the role of pH and moisture content on piezoelectric properties has been explored in aligned collagen membranes. In addition, the orientation dependence of collagen fibril piezoresponse has been explored using cross sections of embedded tendons. PFM applied to other organic materials will also be discussed.

Short CV of Dr. Brian Rodriguez

Brian graduated from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, USA) with a PhD in Physics in 2003 and subsequently held postdoctoral appointments at North Carolina State University and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (Oak Ridge, USA). In 2007, he received an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics (Halle, Germany). Brian joined University College Dublin in January, 2009 as a Lecturer in Nanoscience at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research. In October, 2011, he was appointed to the School of Physics. He is the author of 100 scientific papers in the field of scanning probe microscopy and piezoresponse force microscopy of ferroelectric materials, polar nitride semiconductors, and biological systems.

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