A team of material scientists, chemical engineers and physicists from the University of Pennsylvania has made another advance in their effort to use liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures.
In their earlier studies, the team produced patterns of "defects," useful disruptions in the repeating patterns found in liquid crystals, in nanoscale grids and rings. The new study adds a more complex pattern out of an even simpler template: a three-dimensional array in the shape of a flower.
And because the petals of this "flower" are made of transparent liquid crystal and radiate out in a circle from a central point, the ensemble resembles a compound eye and can thus be used as a lens.
The team consists of Randall Kamien, professor in the School of Arts and Sciences' Department of Physics and Astronomy; Kathleen Stebe, the School of Engineering and Applied Science's deputy dean for research and professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Shu Yang, professor in Engineering's departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Members of their labs also contributed to the new study, including lead author Daniel Beller, Mohamed Gharbi and Apiradee Honglawan.
Their work was published in Physical Review X.
The researchers' ongoing work with liquid crystals is an example of a growing field of nanotechnology known as "directed assembly," in which scientists and engineers aim to manufacture structures on the smallest scales without having to individually manipulate each component. Rather, they set out precisely defined starting conditions and let the physics and chemistry that govern those components do the rest.
The starting conditions in the researchers previous experiments were templates consisting of tiny posts. In one of their studies, they showed that changing the size, shape or spacing of these posts would result in correspondin
|Contact: Evan Lerner|
University of Pennsylvania