Spring' 19 Department Seminars with Dr. Bilge Baytekin

Title: Light Controlled Static Charging and Static Charge Controlled Friction

Speaker: Dr. Bilge Baytekin

Department of Chemistry, Bilkent University

Ankara, Türkiye

Date: February 12, 2019, Tuesday

Time: 12:40

Place: Departmental Seminar Room (SB-Z14)


The mechanism of generation of static electricity on insulator surfaces upon rubbing/contact is one of the few scientific questions that remain unanswered for millennia. Static charging (tribocharging) of insulators is a not just a scientific mystery – it is also significant problem, especially critical for various industries; e.g. polymer, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and space. Several methods of tribocharge mitigation exist in practice; however, none can reach the practicality of using light in the process. Here I will present, a light-controlled manipulation of triboelectric charges on common polymers, in which the tribocharges are mitigated upon illumination with appropriate wavelengths of light in presence of a mediator organic dye. Our method provides spatial and temporal control on mitigation of static charges on common polymer surfaces, by a mechanism that involves photoexcitation of organic dyes – which also allows an additional ‘wavelength control. This control over charge mitigation also provides a way to manipulate macroscopic objects by tribocharging followed by light-controlled discharging. In the second part of the talk, I will display how to control friction – the primary phenomenon, which causes energy consumption and wear in all machines with moving parts – between polymer contacts, by eliminating static charges on the polymer surfaces.

Short Biography of the Speaker:

Dr. Bilge Baytekin received her PhD from FU Berlin and pursued her postdoctoral studies at Northwestern U. and Harvard U. In 2014, she joined Bilkent University, where she is now an assistant professor. Her research interests include electrostatics, mechanochemistry, and soft robotics. She is an author of >30 scientific papers (with >1500 citations) in high ranking journals including Science, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Angewandte Chemie, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Soft Robotics. She is also a recipient of TÜBA-GEBIP, BAGEP, ODTÜ Mustafa Parlar Vakfı, and Loreal-UNESCO awards.