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Tunable nechanics and dynamics in biopolymer-based nematic materials

At the University of Chicago MRSEC, we have used the biopolymers, actin and microtubule, to construct 2D nematic materials.

We have shown that these building blocks realize, for the first time, lyotropic liquid crystals with controllable structure and mechanics. This is achieved by controlling the nematogen length (bottom).

We developed a model and demonstrate it is possible to predict not only the static structure, but also the evolution of the system into dynamically arrested states (right).