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  Abbott Research Group - UW Chemical and Biological Engineering

Laboratory for Molecular Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


 Design of Functional InterfacesResearch in our laboratory revolves around investigations of interfacial phenomena and complex fluids. A particular focus is directed to dynamic phenomena at functional organic interfaces, including the development of principles for spatial and temporal control of soft materials. One research thrust is advancing the design of interfaces of liquid crystalline materials.

Functional organic interfaces that confine liquid crystalline phases have been designed and synthesized to create liquid crystals thatundergo surface-induced ordering transitions (and thus change optical properties) in response to targeted molecular and biomolecular phenomena. General principles are being established that couple the ordering of liquid crystals to molecular events such asligand-exchange reactions at metal centers, redox transformations, chemical modifications of peptides such as phosphorylation, specific binding events involving proteins and viruses, the activities of enzymes, as well as biophysical phenomena such as biomechanical forces generated by living mammalian cells.

In addition, the ordering of liquid crystals, which is readily manipulated using electrical and magnetic fields, is also being exploited to direct the interfacial organization of synthetic and biological molecules, thus providing new principles for active control of bio/molecular interfaces.