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  Abbott Research Group - UW Chemical and Biological Engineering

Laboratory for Molecular Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Aqueous - Liquid Crystal Interfaces

Unmasked the influence of the ordering of liquid crystals on the interfacial organization of biomolecules at aqueous-liquid crystal interfaces (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2008). These studies demonstrated that the elasticity of liquid crystals can induce lateral phase separation of amphiphilic molecules assembled at these interfaces. The morphologies of the phase-separated domains of amphiphiles induced by elasticity of the liquid crystal were shown to be strongly dependent on the nature of the deformation of the liquid crystal. These results provide important insight into the physics that control the ordering of molecules at interfaces of soft anisotropic materials, and identified a new mechanism of phase separation at these interfaces.

Elastic Energy Driven Lateral Phase Separation of Adsorbed Phospholipids at Nematic Liquid Crystal-Aqueous InterfaceTop) Illustratation of the change in lateral distribution of lipid and patterned orientation of 5CB corresponding to (c) and (d). The circled cross at the interface in (b) shows the location of a defect. (c) Fluorescent image of L-DLPC-laden interface. (d) Polarized light micrograph of nematic 5CB at L-DLPC-laden interface corresponding to (c) (crossed polars). The fluorescent micrographs were digitally enhanced to emphasize the contrast.