Prof. Galo Soler Illia

  • Universidad Nacional de San Martín


Galo Soler-Illia performed his MSc and PhD in Chemistry at Buenos Aires University (1989-1998), followed bya postdoc in C. Sanchez group at University Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris (1999-2003). He was the founder of Chemistry of Nanomaterials Group at CNEA, Argentina (2003-2014). At present, he is the Dean of Instituto de Nanosistemas at San Martín University, Buenos Aires, Principal Researcher of CONICET (Argentina), Associate Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, and Full Member of the National Academy of Exact and Natural Sciences of Argentina (Nanotechnology chair). He has been guest professor at Paris VI, University of Osaka Prefecture and the University of Melbourne. He received several national awards, in basic and applied sciences. He designs and produces new nanosystems with intelligent architectures and custom properties using chemical methods inspired by Nature. He has published more than 140 papers in reviewed journals, which received more than 10.000 citations (h=44), and filed four patents. In addition, he is an advisor for the Argentine Nanotechnology Foundation; he has published three science books about chemistry and nanotechnology, and disseminates science in open TV. He leads national and international projects with research groups and companies; he recently co-founded Hybridon, a start-up dedicated to mesoporous hybrid materials.


Mesoporous Materials: a platform towards programmable matter

The combination of nanomaterials synthesis with self-assembly processes led to a significant advance in the production of hybrid inorganic-organic materials with hierarchical structures and localized functions. Our ability to produce highly precise complex architectures with well-defined localized functions opens the path to create intelligent matter that can change their physical or chemical properties in response to the environment. Programmable nanosystems can be envisaged, in which confinement effects, responsivity, or collaborative functionality can be imparted into the structure through the control of positional chemistry of different chemical building blocks.

In this presentation, we will illustrate the richness of this emergent field by focusing in mesoporous materials (MM). Mesoporous architectures can be produced through the self-assembly of inorganic nanobuilding blocks in the presence of supramolecular templates. MM can then be decorated by small molecular species, biomolecules, polymers or nanospecies. An amazing variety of chemical behaviors can be programmed into these structures, from tunable catalysis to light guiding or responsiveness to external stimuli. In addition to synthetic and characterization tools, theoretical models and simulations are essential to understand the complexity of the synthesis paths and the final properties. This in-depth knowledge is key to evolve from materials synthesis to ultimate nanosystems design. We will present examples of tunable catalysts, enzyme cascade hosts, intelligent bioscaffolds, remotely activated nanoparticles, chemical-to-optical transducers or perm-selective membranes. A potentially infinite variety of nanosystems with externally controllable behavior is at our disposal, opening the path to design intelligent matter.