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Michael Grünwald


Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Vienna, Austria, 2009
Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Berkeley, 2009-2012
University Assistant, University of Vienna, Austria, 2012-2014


Phone: (801) 581-8023
Office: 4625 Thatcher Building 
Research Group


Activities & Awards

  • ASCINA Young Scientist Award, 2013
  • Schrödinger Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2013

Research Interests

Gruenwald Research

Living system organize their microscopic structure through the spontaneous self-assembly of nanometer-sized biomolecular building blocks. The structural units that arise from such self-assembly processes are complex, highly functional, and have the ability to adapt to environmental changes. Experimental attempts to mimic this strategy to build equally fascinating materials from synthetic nanoparticles, however, have been problematic. Due to a lack of understanding of the processes and forces that govern both the formation of nanoparticles and their self-assembly into super-structures, targeted nano-materials are frequently plagued by defects that diminish their function, or cannot be realized at all.

My group is developing and using methods of computer simulation and statistical mechanics to unravel the microscopic mechanisms of the processes that determine the structure and self-assembly of nanoparticles. From the kinetics of nano-particle growth, to atomistic rearrangements inside a single nanocrystal, to the coarse-grained assembly dynamics of large ensembles of nanoparticles, our research aims to make experimentally relevant predictions for the development of functional nano-materials.

Selected Publications

  • M. Grünwald and P. L. Geissler, Patterns without patches: Hierarchical assembly of complex structures from simple building blocks, ACS Nano 8, 5891 (2014).

  • M. Grünwald, K. Lutker, A. P. Alivisatos, E. Rabani, and P. L. Geissler, Metastability in pressure-induced structural transformations of CdSe/ZnS core/shell nanocrystals, Nano Letters 13, 1367 (2013).

  • J. Henzie, M. Grünwald, A. Widmer-Cooper, P. L. Geissler, and P. Yang, Self-assembly of uniform polyhedral silver nanocrystals into densest packings and exotic superlattices, Nature Materials 11, 131-137 (2012).

  • M. Grünwald and C. Dellago, Nucleation and growth in structural transformations of nanocrystals, Nano Lett. 9, 2099 (2009).

Last Updated: 7/13/21