Penicillin, long used in medications, is now being studied as a coating, a novel weapon against bacteria that could protect medical implants and the surgical tools used to insert them.
Active interface architectures, exhibiting structural sensitivity to the presence of chemical species or light, are of interest for sensor and functional nanostructure applications. LCMRC researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to use liquid crystals to read out the state of a photoactive monolayer with great sensitivity to the incident wavelength.
Modern liquid crystal displays (LCDs) operate by achieving a desired orientation of the LC molecules within the display. LCMRC researchers have demonstrated that topographic surface patterns made by nanoimprinting can produce exotic surface alignment of LCs, including bistable orientations (NE or NW) generated by an array of nanoscale boxes on the surface, as shown in the figure.
LCMRC researchers have discovered that solutions in water of pieces of DNA only a few nanometers long (nanoDNA) can form liquid crystal phases if the DNA is complementary, that is if it can form double-helixed pairs. These duplex pairs then stack up end-to-end to form rod-shaped aggregates that make the liquid crystal phases.
After spending two summers participating in the Research Experience for Teachers Program at MIT's MRSEC, Ms. Julie O'Loughlin, a science teacher at Breed Middle School in Lynn, MA, brings her eighth-grade classes to CMSE to share the exciting research being done at the Center.
"I never knew I was so good in science. I'm going to be a research scientist when I grow up!"